Baltimore Raven's RG3 knows being an Army brat is harder than football

Phil Briggs
September 27, 2018 - 4:48 pm


NFL Quarterback, Robert Griffin III is known for many achievements. 

Acquired by the Baltimore Ravens for the 2018-19 season, he has made big plays as a Cleveland Brown and a Washington Redskin.  His breakout rookie season with the Skins, saw his incredible speed guide the team to their first playoff appearance in many years.  His Heisman trophy earned him the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.  And his speed on both the track and the gridiron made him a legend at Baylor University.

But the story we don’t hear a lot about, is that of a son, with two Army parents, and the fear that he may not see his deployed father again.

“I moved around a bunch when I was young,” Griffin said. “First Japan, then Olympia Washington, then South Carolina and then in Copperas Cove, Texas.   Once we got to Texas, my Dad was able to stay there for the rest of his tenure in the Army … I saw a lot of friends move away and had a lot of new friends move in.  That’s the life of an Army brat, I know it well.” 

He described how his Mom served for 13 years as a Computer Engineer and his Dad served for 21 years, where his job included time as a tank operator. “Once they had my two older sisters and myself, he decided to stop being a tank operator, as the life expectancy of those guys is very short, especially in wartime, and he started working with petroleum,” Griffin said.

The Raven quarterback explained how he understands exactly what it means to be a military family, “My heart goes out to every military family out there who has to experience, not only the sacrifice it takes to have their parents be in the military, but also the strain it can put on a family.”

Griffin shared a story about how he felt when his father’s deployment was extended. “It was tough, my Dad got ‘Stop Lossed’ and as anyone who is a military brat or has served knows what it means.  It’s kinda taboo … y’know you get ‘stop lossed’ and sometimes when you go overseas, you don’t come back.  We were blessed and lucky enough that my did Dad did come back and was able to retire, but I know a lot of families who had their loved ones get ‘stop lossed’ and did not come back.”

While the sons and daughters of military vets have lived through the lows of family separation, Griffin described the highs of those surprise reunions, we often see captured in heart-warming viral videos.  “I was a basketball camp in Texarkana, Texas and they didn’t tell me he was coming back.  So I came to practice the next morning, and he opens the door … and I just remember seeing him, and I went running into his arms and jumping on him, just so happy he was back!  I know a lot of people who have experienced those times, and there’s nothing like it,” Griffin said with a smile.

On the field, NFL players are tasked with thrilling fans, but Griffin is just as committed to giving thrilling experiences off the field through the work of the Robert Griffin III Foundation. “Helping military vets and anything tied to the military is a cornerstone of what we do ... we feel like anyone who is underprivileged has a home with us to get the assistance they need,” said Griffin.

Last year Griffin teamed up with HGTV’s Fixer Upper stars, Chip and Joanna Gaines to renovate a home for Bill Graham, a military veteran who had lost his wife to lung cancer .  But as Griffin explained it way more than just fixing homes and building wheelchair ramps, “ It’s helping military vets who lost a leg, it’s helping the soldiers who go over there and see things that we in America don’t see everyday … it’s helping them get the proper treatment … it’s actually impacting all kinds of people’s lives, so they can be part of our family.”

When asked if Chip Gaines really works on the homes himself (or is that just when the cameras are on?) Griffin replied, "Oh yeah.  You'll never meet anyone more genuine than those two.  I mean, they're the same people off camera as they are on camera ... and if you ever get opportunity to demo a house, I highly suggest you do it.  Who doesn't want to just hit wall with a sledge hammer and knock it down?"   

As the football expression goes, “Any given Sunday” Griffin is ready make memorable plays for the Ravens offense , but his advice for life off the field has an even larger impact, “ I’m a 28-year-old military brat and I know there’s a lot of vets out there, we just want you to know you’re not forgotten, you are appreciated and through my foundation I’m going to do everything I can to give back to you guys.”

For information on how you can donate, volunteer or attend upcoming RG3 Foundation events click here


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