The drama continues between the Washington Redskins and quarterback Robert Griffin III.
One day after being cleared to play by his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, but not yet named the opening night starter by his coach, Mike Shanahan, ESPN reported that Andrews’ “concerns” are about how the team plans to use its star player this season.
ESPN anchor Trey Wingo tweeted that “sources telling me the “concerns” about [Griffin] have less to do with health of the knee, much more on how the team plans to use him.”
Andrews disputed that report via text message on Friday afternoon: “Not true. Team will use him appropriately. No concerns. No further comments except from team.”
That Wingo tweet immediately raised a host of questions: Why would Andrews clear Griffin in the first place if concerns remain? Why would a team doctor express an opinion about how a player is used? Isn’t that beyond his purview? If Andrews is to be believed, he wouldn’t do any of that. So it’s a non-issue.
That does lead to one more nagging question, though: Weren’t these problems dealt with properly in the offseason or are the lines of communication between the Redskins coaching staff and Griffin’s camp still frayed? Someone clearly believes Andrews has concerns even if the doctor himself denies that.
Griffin seemed excited about the news last night with his own tweet: “Operation Patience….Complete. Cleared. To God Be The Glory.”
But Shanahan either wasn’t ready for that news to come out so definitively or wanted to let his young quarterback know the decision was still up to the coaching staff. The Redskins open on Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“There’s a couple concerns [Andrews] has,” Shanahan told reporters after Washington’s 30-12 preseason finale win at Tampa Bay on Thursday night. “I’ll talk to Robert over the weekend and I’ll let you guys know on Monday where we’re at.”
Maybe we all need a refresher course on how to use the word “concerns”. This circus is like a terrible game of telephone. Recent signs point to Griffin starting anyway. He has practiced without restriction for the last two weeks, including drills against Washington’s No. 1 defense at full speed. He also received increased repetitions at practice on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Griffin tore ligaments in his right knee during a Jan. 6 playoff loss to Seattle. He underwent surgery on Jan. 9. Shanahan had repeatedly said this summer that he would wait to declare Griffin ready for the opener until after Andrews cleared him. Even that apparently wasn’t enough.
Griffin had said this week he feels ready to start the opener. In an interview on Tuesday with ESPN 980 he said that he is “100 percent.”