CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns have signed free-agent quarterback Robert Griffin III, the team confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday afternoon, Griffin tweeted his excitement:
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-2, 222-pound Griffin once guided the Washington Redskins to the playoffs, but struggles in recent seasons led to new coach Jay Gruden benching him at the start of the 2015 season. Griffin did not play a single game in 2015 before his release from the club early in the offseason.
“We are excited to add Robert to our team,” Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown said in a release announcing the signing. “Robert possesses a unique skill set at the quarterback position. He has played at a high level in this league and is intent on doing everything in his power to return to that level on a consistent basis.
“After meeting with him, having him work out for us and doing our diligent research, we felt it was right to grant him an opportunity with our organization. We were able to see and feel his passion and commitment to re-establishing himself as a starting quarterback in this league and his embrace of the hard work that will be is essential to his development.
“We’ve been clear on the importance of improving and stabilizing the quarterback position for our franchise. We have said that the draft is and will be our primary focus, but we will always look to complement the draft through free agency, and this is one of those examples. We look forward to working with Robert and getting him in the building with his teammates at the start of the offseason program on April 4.”
Last week, reports surfaced that the Browns and head coach Hue Jackson were reportedly interested in Griffin, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Baylor University, after he was released by Washington earlier in the offseason.
In three years with Washington, Griffin completed 679 of his 1,063 attempts (63.9 percent) for 8,097 yards and 40 touchdowns against 23 interceptions and 18 fumbles. In addition, Griffin accounted for 1,480 yards and eight touchdowns on 244 career rushing attempts.
“We are excited about Robert joining the Cleveland Browns,” Jackson said. “He brings starting experience to our team and organization. He’s a young, athletic, talented passer, and he’s really just starting out in this league.
“Just like every player on our team, Robert will have to earn every opportunity he gets. He will compete with the rest of the quarterbacks on our roster, and he helps improve our QB room, which was one of my goals upon taking the job. It’s a special room, and we want to put special people and players in that room. We are looking forward to working with Robert, as well as the rest of the quarterbacks on our roster. We have a lot of work to do to prepare to be the best QB room in the NFL, and we look forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”
Griffin began his career with back-to-back 3,200-yard seasons in 2012 and 2013, but while his touchdown totals dwindled from 20 to four in three years, the turnover numbers increased, as did the injuries. However, Griffin is looking forward to restarting his NFL career under Jackson’s tutelage in Cleveland.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to join the Dawg Pound and help build something here in Cleveland,” Griffin said. “Coach Hue and Pep (Hamilton), I had a great meeting with them. I really believe in what they preach and how they can help not only me as a player, but this team win games, and that’s what we’re all about.
“I’m just excited to come in and compete. Nothing’s ever been given to me in my life, so I just want to go out and compete with the guys and grow with this team. I feel like that’s all I’m really focused on. I cherish the opportunity to get another chance to play this beautiful game.”