Professional athletes have become well-known for having on-off switches. Some of the calmest players around become maniacs when they put on a uniform.
We've heard about the leadership and the studiousness. We've seen the Barney socks. We've seen the fourth-quarter comeback.
Where does one end and the other begin? For Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, it's a well-defined line.
"Can't be 'on' all the time," Griffin said Wednesday, days before the rookie leads the Washington Redskins against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. "Guys would get discouraged. You've gotta be fun to be around."
Nonetheless, knowing when to be serious and when to joke around isn't as straight-forward as it sounds, as anyone in any workplace knows. Coaches and teammates say Griffin already has it down pat, even though he's in his first NFL season.
"Real professionals are able to do that," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. "Some players aren't able to separate the two, but he has a great knack."
A week ago, the Barney dinosaur socks made another appearance in the locker room. Griffin's weekly session with the media is usually good for at least a few good chuckles. Prior to Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he came out of the tunnel high-fiving and posing with fans, he then turned to the serious side in a matter of seconds for pregame warm-ups.
As the game was winding down, Griffin's serious side was fully engaged when a headset malfunctioned, forcing him to call his own plays during the game-winning drive in the final two minutes. Griffin anticipated a blitz and called a quick pass to tight end Fred Davis for a 20-yard gain.
Of course, Griffin was naturally in a festive mood once the Redskins beat the Bucs 24-22 to improve their record to 2-2, but he was the only quarterback to celebrate a win Sunday by sitting on the stadium tunnel floor to do the "Griffining" pose with Olympic track and field medalist Kellie Wells.
Griffin's parents were in the military, where off-duty and on-duty are clearly distinguished. His teammates believe that the quarterback is a product of his background.
"He was just brought up in that sense to know that, hey, when it's business, it' business," receiver Santana Moss said. "He's all about business when you're really around him, and then being a young guy, you're going to have to live some time – and you can see that in him. He has fun."