Mike Shanahan takes center stage as controversy swirls

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“I could have kicked myself in the rear end,” Shanahan said. “Even though the doctor said, ‘Hey, he was fine, it was all stable, you don’t have to worry,’ and Robert said it was fine, I knew in my gut [that it wasn’t] as I watched him.”

Griffin, for his part, said he can’t think about being used as some type of pawn in a power struggle between the coaching staff and team management. Cousins, too, said he’s trying to ignore that possibility, focusing only on his start on Sunday, but believes it would be silly to sacrifice Griffin given his value to the organization.

“I do believe that Robert is the franchise quarterback here in Washington,” Cousins said. “He was drafted No. 2 overall. A lot of picks were traded to get him. Common sense would say that this is his team, and I’ve never wanted to take that away from him or do anything to undermine his role. And, I’ll say it again even as I start this week, I believe that at the end of the day, this is Robert’s team going forward into next season.”

Yet exactly what happens next season seems increasingly unclear.

“I think we all understand what goes on with the length of a contract, but that’s the nature of the National Football League,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got to perform every year, you’ve got to perform at a very high level, and you’ve got to do what you think is in the best interests of your organization.”

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