- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Ifinally saw that ad so many people are talking about, the one where things blow up and RG3 works hard and talks about being all in for Game 1.

Let me be very clear up front: There’s nothing wrong with the ad itself. But as I watched it, I couldn’t help but think, “Please, please, please don’t let them mess this one up.”

Sorry, the way the Redskins handled Robert Griffin III during their playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 6 has left me without confidence that they’ll handle his recovery from his latest knee injury properly. I’m pretty much begging the Redskins, and RG3 as well, to stop talking about Game 1.

Err, please, on the side of caution here.

RG3 has a chance to become a local treasure. Brilliant, personable, magnificently gifted athletically — he could own this town for a decade or more. Given his collection of talents, he could do that if he never takes another snap. I’d rather see him doing it by being under center for the next 15 years.

Even if that means missing next season.

The ad is well done. If you think about it, the message works even if RG3 had perfectly healthy knees. Nothing he’s done to this point really matters, it won’t help him win another game. He has to work even harder to get better, to get ready for the first game of the rest of his career.

How many think that’s what they had in mind when the ad was created? Yeah, I don’t, either.

Phone and electronic messages left with an adidas spokesman, in an attempt to find out when the ad was conceived, were not returned.

Even with the injury, the message isn’t that bad. RG3 should be all in for Game 1, should be working as hard as he is to be ready to play when the 2013 season kicks off in early September.

To his credit, RG3 made it clear after the ad first went public that there needed to be some sort of asterisk there. He won’t risk his future to play in the 2013 opener. Dr. James Andrews, the surgeon, said the same thing.

Good to know.

Where was that kind of thinking when RG3 was obviously playing hurt against Seattle, to the point where he couldn’t function anywhere close to the level we’d grown used to seeing? Anyone who watched him drag that right leg on an early fourth quarter run could see he had no business still being in the game. He said afterward he’s a competitor, he isn’t going to ask out. Coach Mike Shanahan said afterward that RG3 told him what he needed to hear. Andrews was right there on the sideline, presumably watching.

These are the people we’re supposed to trust with this decision?

Let’s hope they’ve learned something. Let’s hope when RG3 says, “Yep, I’m ready to go,” and all tests and all signs say the same thing, they say, “Good, good, now let’s wait 2-4 more weeks just to be sure.”

Griffin just turned 23 last month. He’s already on his third right knee. There’s the one he was born with, the one that was reconstructed while he was at Baylor University and the one that was reconstructed in January. Excuse us, the one that was “revised” in January since that is apparently the proper medical term for a redone reconstruction. The Redskins can’t protect him from being hit again in the future. They also darn sure don’t want to get into a repeated rebuild-and-rehab cycle. They need this knee reconstruction/revision/whatever to last.

If that means missing a few games or even a full season, so be it. Is there a Redskins fan out there who wouldn’t trade an RG3-less season for an increased chance of having RG3 for a dozen years afterward?

The Nats went without Stephen Strasburg for almost a full season after his Tommy John elbow surgery. Of course, they had no choice. The point is, it went quickly. They survived. Strasburg is still young and ridiculously talented and poised for a stellar career.

Making it back in nine months is not out of the question. RG3, no doubt, will keep working hard. So, yes, keep the opener as a goal. Albeit an unspoken one.

Just stick to your word and don’t make it a be-all-end-all thing. It will be great for the Redskins if RG3 is ready to start the season. It won’t be so bad if he isn’t. It will be awful if he gets hurt again.