The handling of RG3 has morphed into an exercise in CYA.
Earlier this week, the Redskins leaked to Adam Schefter of ESPN that quarterback Robert Griffin III will start the Week One Monday night game against the Eagles — even though Dr. James Andrews had not yet given Griffin final clearance to play.
Then, after Griffin proclaimed via Twitter on Thursday night that Dr. Andrews has cleared Griffin to play, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said that Dr. Andrews still has “a couple of concerns.” But Shanahan would shed no light on the specific concerns.
Since then, Trey Wingo of ESPN (who is more host than reporter) reported that “sources” have told him Andrews is less concerned about Griffin’s knee and “much more on how the team plans to use him.”
Schefter, who had the original report that Griffin will start, has retweeted the Wingo report. Chris Russell of ESPN 980 has tweeted that Dr. Andrews has sent the following text message to Russell: “[Griffin] is in their hands. They will take good care of him.”
That’s not necessarily a contradiction of Wingo’s report. It could mean that Shanahan has addressed Dr. Andrews’ concerns to his satisfaction. Or it could be Dr. Andrews’ way of sliding away from the impression that he has overstepped his boundaries by clearing a player to play with an asterisk regarding how the coaching staff chooses to deploy him.
Regardless, it’s not the first time this year that Dr. Andrews has demonstrated far less skill with the media than he has with a scalpel. In January, only days before Griffin’s knee imploded during a playoff loss to the Seahawks, Dr. Andrews told USA Today that Griffin re-entered a game against the Ravens without clearance.
“He didn’t even let us look at him,” Andrews said. “He came off the field, walked through the sidelines, circled back through the players, and took off back to the field. It wasn’t our opinion.
“We didn’t even get to touch him or talk to him. Scared the hell out of me.”
Shanahan disputed the contention, explaining that Andrews specifically cleared Griffin to play.
So what’s going on here? Although Griffin is healthy, there’s no guarantee he’ll stay healthy. And the criticism that was heaped on the Redskins for not getting Griffin off the green dirt of FedEx Field during the playoff game will be intensified dramatically if the knee gives out again.
Andrews knows it, and Andrews apparently is trying to distance himself from what he fears could happen again to Griffin.