The Redskins’ previous franchise-saving draft pick quarterback thinks the next one is going to do just fine.
Heath Shuler, who contributed more to Washington as a Congressman than he did as a Redskins quarterback, visited camp and met Robert Griffin III, and said he “was so excited,” his old team landed the Baylor star.
“I’m sure it’s no different. I mean, the expectations are extremely high,” Shuler said of the pressure on Griffin, via Steve Yanda of the Washington Post. “That’s the reason I’m here. I watched this kid play, and I was so excited, just like everyone else. He was the person I was hoping the Redskins would select in the draft.
“So with expectations high, there’s going to be a lot of added pressure to him, and I think he’s someone who can really handle it. He’s handled pressure before, and I’m very encouraged by the things I’m able to see. We’ve just got to be mindful that it takes everyone. We’re going to have ups and downs as a team, and we’ve just got to hang in there with these guys and pull them through and support them.”
Since the Redskins drafted Shuler third overall in 1994, they hadn’t picked a quarterback that high until trading up to the second spot to get RG3 this year.
Shuler’s served as a U.S. Representative for North Carolina since 2007, but isn’t seeking re-election. He hadn’t been back to a Redskins practice since he was traded in 1996, but wanted to take the opportunity to bring his son along.
Shuler was pillaged back in his days, primarily because the Redskins went 9-23 in his two seasons, completed fewer than half his passes, with more than twice as many interceptions as touchdowns.
But as much criticism as he took then, he said he took the experience as a positive.
“I read the papers,” Shuler said. “I’d come from the University of Tennessee and everything had been so good, and the path was always a paved road. There were no bumps along the way, and everything was perfect.
“And then you have these obstacles in the road, and it’s, ‘How are you going to handle them?’ Are you going to be a better person at the end of it? I think I’m a better person at the end of the day based upon what I had to go through here.”
With a little luck, Griffin doesn’t have to grow that way, and Redskins fans can only hope their next quarterback savior’s story doesn’t end in the same manner.