Robert Griffin III: RG3 knee injury a warning sign for his future? (+video)
Robert Griffin III limped out of the Washington Redskins' 24-14 loss Sunday. The RG3 knee injury raises questions about his durability – and whether he should have been playing.
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Is this what a Griffin career will look like: Moments of incandescence dimmed by the beating his body will take as he scampers on one of his signature runs?Skip to next paragraph
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But how can he stop running?
Perhaps, over time, he can develop into an elite pocket passer. Ten years from now, his struggles to be an effective passer against a fearsome Seahawk defense Sunday will simply be remembered as a typical rookie's growing pains. His intelligence, arm, and attitude suggest he has the ability to succeed long-term, regardless of his knees.
But is that what we want?
Is that why Griffin's jersey was the most popular in the NFL this year?
As impressive as his mind and arm are, Griffin's legs are what make him extraordinary. Take away the image of him freezing the defensive end with a loose-limbed juke and sprinting for daylight down the sideline, chased only by his own contrails, and he would seem diminished, whatever his future success.
This is why Redskins coach Mike Shanahan will have much to answer for in the days ahead. By keeping Griffin on the field when he was so obviously struggling was to risk something of incomparable price – Griffin's NFL future – for one week of bragging rights. (The Redskins, after all, were never going to win the Super Bowl this year.)
It's as if Mr. Obama decided to use the Declaration of Independence as a scratch pad because he ran out of Post-It Notes.
But what can be done? Let Griffin play wrapped in bubble wrap and cotton balls? Put a team of snipers in the seats at FedEx Field?
The NFL can do everything in its power to protect quarterbacks (and does), but it can't protect them from themselves. This is why Griffin would have been well-served looking across the field at the other rookie quarterback on display in Washington Sunday.
While not as electrifying as Griffin, the Seahawks' Russell Wilson has a similar skill-set. But he rarely takes big hits, even on designed runs. Yes, that means giving up extra yards – running out of bounds or sliding. But it also means keeping at bay linebackers tasked with breaking you in half.
So far, that has seemed something that Griffin's competitive nature cannot accept. But Wilson is no less competitive. He just realizes that sacrificing a few yards is better for his team than getting knocked down – and perhaps not getting back up for the next play.
If nothing else, Sunday should convince Griffin that the same is true for him.