Kilmer would’ve pulled Griffin before halftime. The limps and stumbles and shuffles didn’t matter as much as when the football came out of the quarterback’s right hand. Kilmer didn’t think the Griffin could plant on his right foot and his accuracy sailed away, along with incompletion after incompletion.
But Kilmer understands what happened. Would he ask out of a game? Never. His response is something between a laugh and a challenge.
“A player’s not going to make that decision,” Kilmer said. “Not unless his legs are cut off.”
Coaches have to rely on a player’s assessment of how he feels and what he believes he can do. On-field appearances can deceive. That’s what Theismann believes. That’s what he lived on the field.
“Injuries unfortunately are a part of our business when you bring in the competitive nature of individuals, which is something you never want to legislate against,” Theismann said. “Robert at 80 percent is as good as most guys at 100 percent.
“A lot of players don’t look right. How do you know? Standing on sidelines or sitting upstairs in a both, with all due respect to everybody who is observing, they’re not the person.”
Griffin will return. The furor will fade.
For all his generational physical gifts, he’s a quarterback who tried to play hurt.
And in that, Griffin isn’t unique.