NEW YORK (AP) – Lots of athletes get statues built in their honor, though not one you can take a bite out of.
The likeness of Robert Griffin III, made of barbecue chicken, lettuce, tomatoes and chili peppers, was unveiled at a Subway restaurant in Manhattan on Tuesday. It might not be quite the same accolade as going No. 2 overall in the draft to the Washington Redskins, as the Heisman Trophy winner will do Thursday night, but the Baylor quarterback got a kick out of it.
“It is all for fun and cool,” Griffin said as photographers and TV cameras took shots of the real Griffin and the RG3 1-2, as Subway has dubbed the sandwich. “I don’t want to be sponsor of something I don’t believe in and Subway is something all our guys relied on at Baylor. It’s something I’ve liked for a long time.”
Griffin is the fourth college football player Subway has presented with a statue of himself. Sculptor Jim Victor also did likenesses of Clemson’s C.J. Spiller and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh two years ago — both went early in the first round — and Alabama’s Mark Ingram, another Heisman winner, last year. Ingram also was a first-round selection.
Victor also has done sculptures of celebrities, including ones in chocolate of Robin Williams, Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. The RGIII statue took him two weeks and required “a lot of bread that I baked myself.”
After Griffin made some sandwiches for the media, he turned his focus to turning around the Redskins. A Broncos fan since childhood, he’s eager to work with coach Mike Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
“I know a lot about Mike Shanahan from when I was growing up and his coaching John Elway, Terrell Davis and those teams,” Griffin said. “They inspired me to play football. I know he knows how to build a quarterback. He did with Steve Young, John Elway, even Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler.
“I look forward to being that young guy he can build up similar to what he did with John Elway.”
Griffin also recognizes the challenge that faces any highly drafted quarterback, and that unlike Elway, the likes of JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, David Carr and Tim Couch never measured up.
None of those was the athlete Griffin is, and judging by what NFL scouts and personnel people say, none had the maturity level Griffin brings to the pros.
He also brings some swagger.
“We all have a personality,” he said. “Some guys are cocky or cocky/confident. I try to think I am a confident guy, not cocky/confident. I believe in my abilities and the guys around me.”
One of those “guys” around him Tuesday was his statue. At one point, Griffin ran his hands over the eyes, lips — which are covered with barbecue sauce — and dreadlocks made of chili peppers.
And he smiled, perhaps tempted to take a bite out of it.
Instead, he settled for a bottle of water.
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