RICHMOND, Va. – RG3 wishes he had been the first to put a Roman numeral on the back of his uniform.
Not Robert Griffin III; Washington Redskins' other RG3 — Rex Grossman III.
"It would have been cool to put it on my jersey as a rookie," Grossman said. "I never thought about it."
Of course, NFL rules didn't permit suffixes on jerseys when Grossman entered the league in 2003. And, as he points out, he didn't have anything close to the marketing cache of Griffin, who is essentially the reason the rule was changed.
But now that it's permissible, he does have the option of breaking out a "Grossman III" moniker above his No. 8.
"I could now," Grossman said. "But it seems a little bit ..."
"Yeah," he answered. "I'll stick with what I've been doing for 10 years."
For the second straight year, Grossman is the veteran tutor for a young quarterbacks Griffin and Kirk Cousins. He's a third-stringer who didn't play last year and is unlikely to do so again this season. He's not even a lock to make the team because coach Mike Shanahan might decide to keep only two quarterbacks, although that would dicey if there is any serious concern about the status of Griffin's surgically reconstructed right knee.
For a quarterback who once started a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears, it's a role that's a bit humbling.
"It's not satisfying," Grossman said. "It's not where you want to be. Every situation's different. My mindset my whole career has been to take advantage of every opportunity you get and go from there."
Grossman was a free agent in the offseason, but there's only so much demand for a 32-year-old quarterback with more career interceptions (60) than touchdown passes (56). He opted to re-sign with reigning NFC East champion Washington, where he's familiar with the offensive schemes and has a front-row seat for the phenomenon that Griffin has become.
"Rex is a true pro," Shanahan said. "He handles himself just like you would hope that any experienced quarterback would handle it. He understands his role. He's very, very good with our young quarterbacks, and he's a big plus for our football team."
When Griffin walked onto the field Saturday for the annual Fan Appreciation Day at training camp, the people roared. He held up his helmet to the fans, then waved his arms to encourage them to cheer more.
When Grossman walked onto field, there wasn't so much as a ripple from the crowd.
Still, it's hard to complain about having a job in the NFL.
"They'll have to kick me out of the league," Grossman said. "If they want me when I'm 50, I'll be here. I'm not a 'retire' guy, so I take every situation given and try to make the best career choice I can."
Notes: Saturday was the first practice in full pads at this year's camp. A new rule requires everyone to wear knee pads and thigh pads this season, and Shanahan wants the players to get used to them. ... Shanahan's annual Fan Appreciation Day speech was short and to the point: "We're looking forward to a great year. I think you'll be proud of our football team both on and off the football field. We're going to give you everything we've got, I promise you that, and then some."
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