Robert Griffin III glided across the end zone inside the Washington Redskins‘ indoor practice facility Tuesday with the same sprinter’s stride that made him such a unique threat as an NFL rookie quarterback. A black plastic brace stabilized his right knee as he ran straight ahead.
Griffin sees each day, each practice, each treatment session as progress toward returning from knee ligament surgery. And with only two days of Redskins minicamp remaining before the team’s six-week summer break, he is determined to finish his rehabilitation strong.
When his teammates scatter to their offseason sanctuaries at the end of this week, Griffin will continue to rehab his knee at Redskins Park. And when his personal life leads him away from Ashburn this summer, his rehab regimen will not stop.
His target return date of July 25, Washington’s first training camp practice, is almost in sight.
“When it comes to training camp, it is just a matter of how my body feels when I get back on July 25 before we go down to Richmond, and we’ll go from there,” Griffin said. “I mean, I’ve said it a bunch of times: I’m pretty confident I’ll be ready.”
If he desires, he can perform the advanced stages of his rehab away from the cameras and reporters’ questions.
With no media access scheduled for six weeks, Griffin faced questions that meandered, clumsily at times, through a wide variety of subjects, including his ongoing recovery, his upcoming wedding and whether he can sing better than backup quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Most notably, Griffin considered his workout Tuesday to include explosive sprinting.
He ran the width of the field several times alongside third-round rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who is recovering from a left knee bruise.
“I feel comfortable sprinting now, and the next big stage is just cutting,” Griffin said. “It’s not that I go cut for two days and I’m ready to go. It’s just a month of doing cutting drills, changing direction; that way I can train my body to get back for that. I will start that next week.”
Once Griffin begins cutting, the rest of his recovery involves repeating those workouts over and over.
“Just get more and more comfortable, and then whatever I feel like I have a deficiency at, I’ll make sure I fix that, and there’s little exercises you can do to help with that,” he said.
There will be no hiatus during Griffin’s wedding and honeymoon.
Griffin is scheduled to marry his college sweetheart, Rebecca Liddicoat, in Denver on July 6. She is from Boulder, Colo.
He did not specify where he and his bride will honeymoon, but that trip will include knee exercises.
“I’m planning ahead of time to make sure I do things I have to do while I’m on that honeymoon,” he said. “I think I’m a responsible guy, so I’ll make sure I do everything I have to to be ready — cutting, running, working out — so when I get back and they see me, that they’ll be not only impressed, but they feel safe and sound to put me out there.”
In the nearer term, the quarterback is scheduled to meet with his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, next week, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
He wouldn’t be cleared to practice, though, until just before the start of camp, coach Mike Shanahan said.
“We talk about this question every day, and nobody knows for sure, but we’re trying on July 24 or 25, in that area, and we’ll find out,” Shanahan said.
Griffin, then, will push forward with his physical recovery.
He is fine from a mental standpoint — confident in his knee — but he has a bit more work to do to ensure he can resume playing at a high level.
He won’t risk absorbing contact until he’s in a game situation, but preparing for that first hit continues to be his goal.
And if all goes well, he’ll be wearing a helmet, jersey and pads in six weeks’ time.