NEW ORLEANS (USA Today) -- Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III promised a different and better Robert Griffin III upon winning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award three weeks following knee surgery.
Griffin accepted the honor Saturday evening in New Orleans, and said his rehabilitation was going well.
"It's truly blessing to be up here and be able to stand, first and foremost," he told the assembled luminaries at the NFL Honors ceremony. "Sometimes it's not what you get for your team, but what you're willing to give for them."
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who started all 16 games and led the NFL in tackles with 164, was named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. This is the second consecutive AP Rookie of the Year award for the Panthers, with quarterback Cam Newton earning offensive honors last year.
Griffin said he planned on being back on the field for the Redskins by Week 1.
"I think you will see a different version of me," he told reporters. "I vowed to my teammates and myself that I would be a different player. You won't see the same Robert Griffin. You'll see a better Robert Griffin."
The Redskins fell 24-14 to the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs, and controversy swirled over the team's handling of Griffin's knee injury.
"The only regret and bitterness is the fact that we lost and we feel like we should have won the game," Griffin said. "It's a learning process."
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who came back from knee surgery to come within nine yards of the single-season rushing record, told reporters he had yet to give Griffin advice personally, but did share the key to a quick recovery: "mental toughness."
"My advice would be, don't talk about it, be about it," Peterson said. "And make sure you take advantage of the opportunity you have during the recovery process to get stronger, get faster, have more confidence. Really, you have to approach it like you're approaching the game."
Griffin took some ribbing from host Alec Baldwin in the actor's opening monologue. Baldwin said it had been a hard year for rookie quarterbacks, what with Griffin having to endure seeing a commercial he wasn't in.
Story by: Robert Klemko, USA TODAY Sports