METAIRIE, La. — Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III knows New Orleans.
Both his parents were born and raised in Louisiana’s internationally renowned city.
But while he hasn’t been back in a few years and though he has pleasant memories of visiting relatives as a child, one lasting image colors his thoughts of New Orleans.
“The last image in my head is of Katrina,” Griffin III said Wednesday during a conference call with members of the media who cover the Saints.
On Sunday, when Griffin leads the Redskins into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for a noon curtain-raiser against the New Orleans Saints, he’ll get a chance to finally clean that last image from the slate.
And he knows what to expect.
“I’ve been to games at the Superdome before,” Griffin said. “Both of my parents were born and raised in New Orleans, La., so I know what it’s like to be a fan of the Saints and the atmosphere that it will be like once we step into that stadium and that dome.”
Griffin enters his first-ever NFL game with a lot of hype behind him.
He came from behind in last season’s Heisman Trophy race to win the 77th version of the award. He won the Davey O’Brien Award, Walter Camp Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Chic Harley Award for his outstanding 2011 campaign.
Yet, all that’s in the past and he’s embarking on a new future, one in which he expects to bring loads of pride to his New Orleans-based family. And it starts in a city his family still lives in.
“It will be special for me to have my whole family there and to be able to watch the Griffin name on the back of a jersey in the NFL for the first time,” Griffin said. “For my family, it will be huge.”
Griffin couldn’t say just how many tickets he had requested for family members, but he said he knew they’d be in the Superdome.
Who the lifelong Saints fans would cheer for, on the other hand, was still in question.
“My whole family lives in that city,” Griffin said. “Before I got drafted (by the Redskins), they were Saints fans. We’ll see who they’re fans of when I get there.”