It was only a matter of time.
As electrifying as Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin has been to this point in his rookie season, pundits have been saying and writing almost since the first week of the season that Griffin couldn't continue to absorb the amount of punishment he was taking without winding up on the shelf.
Those fears were realized in Sunday's loss when a third-quarter scramble by Griffin resulted in a wallop by Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon that ended both Griffin's day and any real chance the Redskins had of knocking off the undefeated Falcons.
The hit left Washington's first-round pick with a bloodied chin and a concussion, and although the concussion has been described as "minor" by Washington head coach Mike Shanahan, it certainly didn't sound that way given what Shanahan told the Associated Press via ESPN after the game.
"He wasn't sure what quarter it was in the third quarter. So at that time, when he wasn't really sure what the score was, what the quarter was, we knew he had a mild concussion -- at least according to the doctors," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said after his team fell to 2-3. "It feels good right now; a lot better right now. But that was ... why he didn't go back into the game."
Griffin was apparently feeling better after the game, as according to the AP he later tweeted "I'm ok and I think after all the testing I will play next week." However, given the NFL's emphasis on concussions and protocols, his status for Week 6 is very cloudy at this point.
That's not really the biggest worry though. It isn't about even one game or even one season.
Listen, I applaud Griffin's toughness and willingness to fight for yardage, and I'm as enamored with his electrifying athleticism as anyone.
But the simple fact is that Griffin can't keep this up, and today was a three-dimensional demonstration of why.
It isn't just media types that believe this either. Griffin's teammates can see that their star signal-caller is taking an unnecessary beating, including veterans such as linebacker London Fletcher according to Jason Reid of The Washington Post.
“We’d like to have him throw the football away when he’s outside of the pocket,” team leader London Fletcher said, “and not take the hit like that.”
Griffin needs to listen to Fletcher and pay heed to the old saying that sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
He's too important to the franchise to be sidelined over a few extra yards.