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Heisman Notebook: Until Bears’ season ends, Griffin III not thinking about NFL

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Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:13 pm, Thu Sep 20, 2012.

By Nick Talbot

Killeen Daily Herald

NEW YORK - Robert Griffin III had other things on his mind this weekend other than the NFL draft - like winning the Heisman Trophy.

But even as the Baylor quarterback's stock continues to soar - he is projected as a first-round pick by both ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay and has been seen as high as the No. 5 pick in some mock drafts - the NFL isn't being talked about too much in the Griffin family, at least not yet.

"We had an agreement that the one thing we wanted to do was stay focused so (Baylor) could finish well," said his father, Robert Griffin Jr. "The draft boards are great, but once he makes a decision, everyone will know. Right now he told me, 'All I want to do is focus on Washington.'"

His father added he expects Griffin could have a decision after he comes back from accepting an Allstate Good Works Team award on Jan. 5, or at the worst, begin starting to make his decision.

But NFL scouts and coaches aren't the only one left waiting.

So is his fiancé Rebecca Liddicoat. She said that while she wouldn't mind getting married sooner rather than later, she is more than content waiting for Griffin to weigh his options.

What does his dad think about his Heisman-winning son getting married?

"He has to have a job first," Griffin Jr. said.

Of course, when that first job does come, whether it is this year or next, it will more than likely come with a multi-million dollar contract.

Honey Badger versus an Elephant

There isn't any animosity between Heisman candidates Tyrann Mathieu of LSU and Trent Richardson of Alabama - at least not yet.

Mathieu and Richardson will square off for the second time this season in the BCS National Championship game less than a month from now, but the two got to bond a little bit over the Heisman weekend. Each discovering the other isn't so bad after all.

"Looking at Trent you would think he is a cold-hearted guy," Mathieu said. "But the guy is really a sweetheart. His two daughters are definitely the light of his world and I never knew that."

Richardson added: "(Mathieu) is always on top of his game. You see him dressing and he always has to be the best-dressed. ... A lot of people think we are going to be at each other throats the whole time or giving each other dirty looks, and we both can't wait for this game, but even after it we will still be friends."

Pay me, or maybe not

There isn't a single question that isn't asked of a Heisman Trophy candidate.

So, when it comes to the big issues, there are a variety of answers among the candidates - even when it comes to whether the NCAA should pay student-athletes.

"Obviously it would be nice as an athlete, you aren't going to turn away any money legally given to you," said Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Griffin, though, didn't think it plausible.

"Football generates a lot of money for schools, but it also covers the bases for the rest of the sports, so it is tough to pay everyone the same amount of money. So, a football player would get three or four times as much as a tennis player and that is the really difficult part."

Waco on his mind

Griffin wants his Heisman to be more than just an individual award.

He has constantly said it is a team award. But more than that, he also wants his achievement to help Baylor and the city of Waco.

"For a long time it was Baylor and the city of Waco. It was never a combined thing. And the schooling in Waco isn't as good (as some other places)," said Griffin, who was one of 11 players chosen to the Allstate Good Works Team, a service award that recognizes volunteerism and community service.

"That is why we go to those kids and tell them the benefits of education. It is huge and Baylor has done a better job of getting involved in the city. And to have a Heisman Trophy brought to your city will create a lot of excitement and take some of those (Texas and Texas A&M) fans and turn them into Baylor fans because you have to take pride in where you are from.

"And that is what we are creating. We are creating pride."

Gold medal or Heisman?

It is a choice he already seemingly made.

But the dreams still linger. Griffin, who led Copperas Cove to a state track title and won the Big 12 championship in the hurdles, all but gave up track two years ago to focus on football. But the Olympic dream never really died. And if he had to choose between winning the Heisman Trophy or a gold medal at the 2012 or 2016 Olympic Games, the decision wouldn't be easy.

"It is more gratifying (to win) in football because it is a team sport," Griffin said. "But, if it is a 400-meter hurdle race in the Olympics, that is tough, because you are representing your country and that is a lot more people than a football team."

His dad still believes he can do both.

"I told him he is fine. He is still young," Griffin Jr. said. "Most of the guys that do really well and have sustained careers in track are 28-32. If God lets him play (football) at the next level and then he still wants to do some of that, then it is there.

"I think everyone would want to represent the United States. I did it, but that was war. In (the Olympics), they would still be gunning for him. It just wouldn't be with bullets."

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