Robert Griffin III is a Heisman Trophy-winning rookie quarterback for the Washington Redskins, but the story of how his girlfriend became his fiancée is arguably the most interesting about the young NFL player. On Oct. 23, 2011, after throwing for 404 yards and four touchdowns and helping Baylor University defeat Kansas State, Griffin III proposed to Rebecca Liddicoat at midfield of his school’s indoor practice facility. Griffin III had been planning to pop the question beneath a tree the couple once liked to sit under, but storms forced him to change his plans. Griffin asked his mom—a U.S. Army sergeant once stationed in Japan, where Robert was born—to help him come up with a backup plan, and when she drove past the Baylor facility and noticed the lights were on, inspiration struck. The only obstacle was the team’s coach.
“I said, ‘I think I need to use the facility,’ but I couldn’t tell him what it was for,” Jacqueline Griffin, Robert’s mother, told the Washington Times. “I said, ‘I need to use the facility for a few minutes. Is that OK?’ He said, ‘Well, as long as you finish by the time we get back in here.’ I ran around him like a little chicken with my head cut off, putting everything together.”
Griffin III—the second player selected overall in the 2012 NFL draft and the first player in the history of the four major American sports to wear Roman numerals on the back of his jersey—wrote a song for the proposal, and, accompanied by a friend on guitar, sang the tune as he and Liddicoat walked into the Baylor facility. On cue, battery-operated candles illuminated the dark field, revealing that Liddicoat’s parents and sisters were in attendance, as were Robert’s folks and his two sisters.
“The funny thing about it is he came in the building and he said, ‘Rebecca, wait a minute. I’ve got to use the bathroom,’” Jacqueline added. “And my husband was in the bathroom with the ring. He gave him the ring, and it was a fun time.”
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As a Redskin, the 22-year-old, 6-foot, 2-inch Griffin III wears No. 10. He’s got endorsement deals with the likes of Castrol Motor Oil, EA Sports, Gatorade and Nissan, and as ESPN reports, he nabbed more sponsorship deals than Andrew Luck, who was selected ahead of him in the draft. Whether he’ll prove as adept at moving the ball against NFL defenses as he is at showing his romantic side remains to be seen.
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