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Between the decision to keep Griffin in that game when he was clearly injured and the disconnect regarding his recovery, the relationship between the coach and the quarterback fractured. They sniped at each other through the media during the offseason and attempted to reconcile their feelings during spring workouts, but trust continued to fray during the next several months.

Griffin was cleared to return to practice at the start of training camp in late July, well ahead of schedule, but was held out of the preseason as a precautionary measure. He was clearly hampered by the lack of work in the early part of the Redskins‘ season, and after struggling as a passer for much of the year, Shanahan benched Griffin for the final three games, publicly citing a desire to keep him healthy and to allow him to focus on having the complete offseason he missed after his rookie year.

Shanahan replaced Jim Zorn, who was fired in 2009 after going 12-20 during two seasons as the Redskins‘ coach. Shanahan previously spent 14 years coaching the Denver Broncos, who won the Super Bowl following the 1997 and 1998 seasons behind an offense that featured future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway and running back Terrell Davis.

Though Shanahan’s reign with the Broncos fizzled in the later years — the team made the playoffs in four of seven seasons following the second Super Bowl victory, but not at all in the last three seasons of his tenure — the Redskins were drawn to Shanahan because of his experience and success. The contract was one of the largest for a coach at the time, and they acquiesced to his insistence that he oversee many aspects of talent acquisition and development in addition to his coaching responsibilities.

Shanahan inherited a roster his first season that was filled with aging veterans and fringe players, including defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, with whom he had a prolonged, season-long feud. The Redskins still managed to go 6-10, though the low point of the 2010 season came on Nov. 15, when, in front of a “Monday Night Football” audience, the Redskins were defeated 59-28 by the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.

Hours earlier, they had given a five-year contract extension worth approximately $78 million to quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was 33 at the time and in his first season with the Redskins after 11 with the Eagles. The timing was suspect; McNabb had been replaced in the fourth quarter of the Redskins‘ previous game against the Detroit Lions by quarterback Rex Grossman, with Shanahan later stating that Grossman gave the Redskins the best chance to win that game.

That decision would only foreshadow Shanahan’s inability to foster a relationship with his quarterbacks. Before the 2011 season, when the Redskins traded McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings and entered with Grossman and journeyman John Beck as their quarterbacks, Shanahan said he would “put [his] reputation on these guys that they can play.” Washington petered to a 5-11 finish that season, taking a slight step back from the six victories a year before, by drifting between Grossman and Beck as the starter.

A respite from the instability appeared to arrive the next April, when the Redskins traded their first- and second-round picks, as well as their first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, to the St. Louis Rams for the ability to acquire the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft. They used that selection on Griffin, an exciting, dual-threat quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy the year before at Baylor and immediately energized a city longing for a superstar at the position.

Griffin helped the Redskins win their first NFC East title since 1999, leading them to the playoffs for the first time in five years. He went on to set multiple team, league and rookie records, and was named the offensive rookie of the year by The Associated Press following the season.

While Griffin’s injury and his performance this season tarnished his shine, the Redskins‘ next coach and offensive coordinator will have the opportunity to work with a player who still has a higher ceiling than most quarterbacks in the league.

Griffin declined comment Monday morning before leaving the facility shortly before 10 a.m. Kirk Cousins, who filled in for Griffin as the Redskins‘ starting quarterback the last three games, said the decision to fire Shanahan is both disappointing and frustrating.

“I understand we went 3-13 and we lost eight in a row there at the end,” Cousins said. “I can understand the decision. But, it’s frustrating because I feel like the Shanahans — Mike, Kyle — and my quarterbacks coach, Matt LaFleur, are the best coaches I’ve been around. I feel like the little success I’ve had, I owe to them, and I’m of the sentiment that I’d like to be back with them some day, so to see them go is frustrating.”

As for Shanahan, this season could have marked his last in the league as a coach. If so, he’ll finish with a 170-138 regular-season record, which is the 11th-most victories among coaches all-time, and will wait five years to find out whether his credentials qualify him for induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Legacies to me are up for you guys to write about and for people to decide,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said last week, when asked about his father. “I personally think he’s done some real good things here. I think he took over a tougher situation than he thought. I think fighting through the salary cap issue we’ve had has been tough, but I am proud of some stuff that we’ve done here.”