- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season caught the Redskins quarterback by surprise.

“I thought it was just a normal week,” Griffin said Wednesday afternoon at Redskins Park. “Turns out it’s not that way.”

Shanahan twice mentioned the possibility of sitting Griffin to media earlier this week before informing Griffin and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins of the choice Wednesday. The coach told Griffin he didn’t want to risk the quarterback’s health for the offseason program in the season’s final three games.

“I expressed my desire to play,” Griffin said of his meeting with Shanahan.

The coach talked to owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen about the hits Griffin has taken in recent weeks. Shanahan said both men agreed that sitting Griffin was the right course.

“With Robert, I thought his hits were piling up on him,” Shanahan said.

The coach added that he regretted not pulling Griffin at halftime of January’s playoff game against the Seahawks where the quarterback went on to injure his right knee in the second half.

Griffin said he hasn’t talked with Snyder about the benching and doesn’t plan to.

The now-third string quarterback answered questions for nine minutes and 30 seconds in a downcast, quiet voice. He evaded questions about the turmoil that’s surged around Shanahan’s job status and relationship with Snyder as the team has fallen to 3-10 heading into Sunday’s game at the Falcons.

“I think that if I allowed it to break my spirit then I wouldn’t be the person my parents raised me to be,” Griffin said. “Although this time is a down time for us as a team and as an organization, we’ll rise out of this.”

Cousins last started against the Browns last season. While he believes Griffin remains the franchise quarterback, the unusual circumstances of his promotion haven’t dampened his enthusiasm for the opportunity.

“To start this game in Atlanta is not the first time I’ve had to face something unique,” Cousins said.

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