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.
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.
Sometimes, the only friends you have are the ones you buy.
And sometimes, not even then.