REDSKINS 2013: LOVERRO: RG3’s multiple layers will keep him fresh for long haul

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The way his veteran teammates spoke of this rookie during training camp last year, before we ever really got a look at Griffin in the season opener against the New Orleans Saints, was not like any other way I’ve heard veterans describe a player. Some were in awe of his maturity, his intelligence, his talent — and his heart.

None of that was damaged by Haloti Ngata when Griffin went down in the Baltimore game last year, and none of that was damaged in the Seattle playoff game, when the world cringed as it watched Griffin play on one leg.

If anything, the maturity and intelligence should be greater after a full NFL season. And the heart? All we’ve heard from his Redskins teammates is that Griffin has been the first one at Redskin Park for rehabilitation work and the last one to leave. The heart may be stronger than ever.

“I know I can go back out there and play at a high level like before and even better than before,” Griffin said during training camp. “I did that in college, and I know I can do that in the NFL.”

All this has gotten lost in the hype that Griffin himself has fanned during the offseason with his cryptic texts, vague tweets and comments that have fed the notion there was damage done in the relationship between Griffin and coach Mike Shanahan in the Seattle playoff game. The noise has drowned out the player everyone fell in love with last year.

The same thing happened last summer when everyone expressed concern about the Subway commercials and all the ads and attention before Griffin ever played a down in the NFL. He told everyone that once football begins, the Griffin hype machine stops and Operation Football starts. That is what happened last year, and despite the noise this offseason, there is no reason to believe it won’t happen again — providing he stays healthy.

He plans on doing that, in part by being smarter when he does run, and, frankly, to be more of the quarterback that his father said he needs to be to survive in the NFL.

“The more you play the game, especially at this level, the better you’re going to get,” Griffin said. “There will be times this year where we don’t have to run. We can sit back there and throw the ball. Be a pocket passer, which I thoroughly enjoy.”

Brett Favre played 20 years in the NFL. Randall Cunningham had a 16-year career. Steve Young — 15 NFL seasons.

Griffin is all of them. He’ll be selling sandwiches for a long time.

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