It is time to say to say goodbye.
The Washington Redskins need to say goodbye to Robert Griffin III, and Griffin needs to say goodbye to the Redskins.
It’s best for everybody.
It’s never going to work here for Griffin. It may not work for him anywhere in the NFL unless he falls far enough to gain some sense of self awareness. But he is finished with the Redskins.
The situation has become far too toxic. There is too much damage that can’t be repaired. Nobody has any credibility left.
Here we are in preseason, and the debate about the quarterback has become uglier than any in football.
You have people who are accusing coach Jay Gruden of purposely putting Griffin out there against the Detroit Lions last week to punish him.
Not just fans or pundits, mind you. A story published by Bleacher Report said that another NFL coach believed the decision to leave Griffin in the game against Detroit when the quarterback had been under siege by the Lions pass rush looked like it was personal.
“What is baffling,” that coach said, “is that I can’t think of a single head coach in the NFL who would take an injury-prone quarterback, put him behind a very shaky offensive line, in a preseason game, watch him take those kinds of hits and leave him in the game. It looks personal to me.”
There were those who came to Gruden’s defense — raising the real dilemma of having to get Griffin work to prepare him for the regular season — but to have such a question raised about a coach and his quarterback in the preseason, of all times, is a measure of how toxic the situation has become.
You have people questioning whether or not Griffin tapped out when he went down in the second quarter after being under siege by the Lions’ defense, fumbled, and had to be helped off the field, reportedly sustaining a concussion.
The key word there is “reportedly.” There were reports before the game was over from the Redskins’ broadcast team that Griffin had already been through concussion protocol and had been cleared. Gruden had a different story in the postgame press conference, and now Griffin is likely to play Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens, even though Gruden had no answer for Griffin’s miraculous recovery.
“He was cleared for non-contact activity,” Gruden told reporters on Monday, “and he’ll be checked by a neurosurgeon later this week to determine whether he’ll be cleared for the game, but so far, so good.
“He didn’t have any headaches or anything of that nature. He did a good job of executing the offense today.”
Gruden was asked how Griffin seemed to recover so quickly from a concussion that required assistance for him leaving the field last Thursday night.
“I have no idea,” Gruden said. “He just went through the necessary steps with the doctors and the concussions tests that are all implemented by our training staff, and so far, he has taken the necessary steps, you know? It’s been two full days, and today is Sunday afternoon, so he’s had some time to recover and go through the necessary steps. He hasn’t been totally cleared yet. Like I said, he’s still got to go to a neurosurgeon, but we’ll wait and we’ll see.”
A coach accused of a personal vendetta against his quarterback that gets him injured. Questions about whether or not the quarterback truly is hurt, or if this was all some sort of team cover up to keep him away from the media following his dismal performance against Detroit.
This is ugly even by Redskins standards.
It’s not going to get better. If Gruden is being held hostage by Redskins Park and has no choice in who his starting quarterback is, there is no point in playing Griffin on Saturday night against Baltimore.
The Ravens, playing before their home fans, are coming off an embarrassing performance in a 40-17 loss last week to the Philadelphia Eagles. They will have a chip on their shoulder, albeit a preseason chip, and one of their top pass rushers, Terrell Suggs, is under fire for his hit on quarterback Sam Bradford.
You’re going to send Griffin out to face this? Knowing that no matter how badly he performs — and how well the backups, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy play — Griffin will be your opening-day starter against the Miami Dolphins at FedEx Field?
There is no way this ends well, but it is best for all involved for it to end. It’s time to say goodbye.
• Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 and espn980.com.