RG III May be Benched in Final Games to Preserve Health

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Photo by espn.com.
Photo by espn.com.

Robert Griffin III is “100 percent” healthy, the Washington Redskins’ Mike Shanahan said, and yet the coach is said to be contemplating benching the team’s starting star quarterback for the remainder of the season.

Shanahan told the media, but not the QB he has reportedly been at odds with at times, that he might sit him as a way of protecting him from the prospect of injury in the final three games. This could be considered a last-ditch, if not misguided, effort by Shanahan to save his job. He said he would learn his fate after a postseason meeting with owner Dan Snyder.

The coach and owner met on Monday, during which time Shanahan said Snyder asked him about his relationship with Griffin, last year’s NFL Rookie of the Year, who has struggled at times and been battered behind an offensive line that has failed miserably to protect him.

”(Snyder) asked me about my relationship with Robert,” Shanahan said. ”And I said I was his coach, his head football coach, and not necessarily his best friend, don’t need to be his best friend. I want to make him the best quarterback possible.”

Shanahan acknowledged that he he might not get that opportunity beyond this season.

”You always want to come back. I love these guys,” Shanahan said. ”What’ll happen at the end of the season, we’ll get a chance, Dan and I, to sit down and decide — he’ll make the final decision on what’s the best interest of the Washington Redskins. I’ll give my opinion and what I think, and obviously he’ll make the final decision.”

A team spokesman said Snyder was not available for comment.

For his part, Griffin said, when asked if he had any doubts he would start the upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons: ”No, that’s not an issue.”

Backup Kirk Cousins would start if Shanahan makes the startling decision to bench Griffin, who did not play in any preseason games as he recovered from a torn ACL suffered in the Redskins’ playoff loss to Seattle in January.

”We’re talking about his health,” Shanahan said. ”I want to make sure he’s healthy. I think that’s the most important thing going into the offseason, that he has his first full offseason being healthy. And if he did play, and something happened to him, I think it would set our franchise back.”

Shanahan has previously insisted that Griffin would remain the starter if healthy, because the quarterback needed as much regular season work as possible to develop an all-around game.

Asked if Griffin is healthy now, Shanahan said: ”I think he’s 100 percent. I think he’s feeling very good.”

He said he’d announce the decision on Wednesday. If Griffin is benched, the tenuous relationship they share is sure to implode.

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