Politics as usual in Washington?

President Obama with the First Dog, Bo

You know what they say, “If you want a friend in Washington…get a dog.”

That’s good advice, whether your game is politics or football. Just ask President Obama. Or Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who may have been caught up in political crossfire when he was benched this week for the season by head coach Mike Shanahan.

Shanahan claims he was motivated by concern for Griffin’s health. RGIII has been hit repeatedly each week and his performance has been nothing short of disappointing. The second overall pick in the 2012 draft, Griffin missed the entire offseason last year while recovering from knee surgery. The 2014 offseason would be the first in its entirety for RGIII to spend working with the playbook and his receivers. And Shanahan says that time is too valuable to risk.

Rational? Maybe.

But then, consider this…

A story circulated earlier this week claims Mike Shanahan wants out of Washington. That he almost quit at the end of last season. That he’s fed up with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s preferential treatment of his star quarterback. And that he’s interested in the Houston Texans head coaching job.

So, where was the concern for RGIII’s health last year, during the playoff game against the Seahawks? When Griffin was limping and obviously injured, before suffering that final devastating blow to his right knee?

Shanahan was loudly criticized for keeping Griffin in the game. At the time, he defended his decision-making, saying RGIII was cleared to go back in (a claim Dr. James Andrews denied). And that even hurt, the quarterback gave the Redskins the best possible chance to win.

And now? Mike Shanahan says he made the wrong decision. That he should have held Griffin out. That in retrospect, he wasn’t effective. And that he regrets it.

Shanahan won’t have to worry about the playoffs this year. At 3-10, the Redskins are in last place in the NFC East. A healthy Robert Griffin III will watch backup quarterback Kirk Cousins lead the Redskins through the remaining three games and into the offseason. What that offseason looks like for the Washington Redskins is anyone’s guess.

Money and politics make the world go round. That’s true of Washington, D.C. And the Washington Redskins.

(Photo: terezowens.com)

Sometimes, the only friends you have are the ones you buy.

Dan Snyder with Mike Shanahan  (Photo: nfl.si.com)

Redskins owner Dan Snyder with Mike Shanahan
(Photo: nfl.si.com)

And sometimes, not even then.


Kneedless surgery for RGIII?

Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III is helped off the field (AP-Patrick Semansky)

Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III is helped off the field
(AP-Patrick Semansky)

It was with great discomfort that I watched Robert Griffin III limp his way through the Redskins – Seahawks game at FedEx Field on Sunday night. The Washington Redskins quarterback had injured the same knee earlier in the season (and in college) and had obviously aggravated it during the first quarter of the game. As the clock ticked down, I was shocked every time Griffin came off the field…only to return immediately.

Yes, it was a playoff game. But RGIII was obviously hurt. And he wasn’t helping his team at that point either. And the Redskins had a competent backup quarterback in Kirk Cousins. Competent and healthy.

As discomfort turned to anger in the fourth quarter, I fired off the following tweet at 6:51 PM:

At 7:08 I followed it up with this one:

It was a matter of seventeen minutes. That’s all the time it took for RGIII to go from hopping to hobbled. And the fans were hopping mad. #RGKnee was trending on Twitter immediately. And the Redskins did themselves no favors with the conflicting stories between Head Coach Mike Shanahan and Dr. James Andrews, the renowned knee expert who is treating Griffin.

We could go back and forth placing blame and pointing fingers, but that’s already been done. Here’s what we do know…Dr. Andrews released the following statement on Wednesday:

“Robert Griffin III had successful knee surgery early this morning. He had a direct repair of his LCL and a re-do of his previous ACL reconstruction. We expect a full recovery and it is everybody’s hope and belief that due to Robert’s high motivation, he will be ready for the 2013 season.”

We will likely never know exactly how or when the injury was sustained. Whether the turf was to blame or the impact of the game. And if the doctor or the team know, good luck getting it out of them. But this was not the rookie quarterback’s only controversial injury this season. RGIII suffered a concussion during week five that went unreported by the team. They were later fined $20,000 for it.

If the NFL is going to put an emphasis on player safety, the Washington Redskins have now raised enough red flags to warrant an investigation into its reporting and handling of injured players (and specifically injuries to Griffin; their top draft pick, starting quarterback, and the future of their team).

On a side note…am I the only one who wants to know what happens in that little red shed on the Redskins’ sideline? Or, maybe I don’t.

But if the NFL does investigate…that’s probably a good place to start.