It's already happening. Despite going in for surgery a month ago, talk is already circulating that Robert Griffin III might be ready in time for next season's opener.
I hope he isn't paying attention to that nonsense.
Adam Schefter of ESPN offered the following report on Thursday:
Though it is only a little more than a month since Robert Griffin III underwent reconstructive knee surgery, Washington Redskins officials are encouraged enough with his recovery to believe he has a legitimate chance to start in the 2013 opener, according to team and league sources.
Schefter went on to add:
Those who know him insist he is a physical freak, not unlike Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was able to rush for 2,097 yards and win the MVP award the season after undergoing major knee surgery.
The Redskins know there still is a long way to go, and they're hardly going to rush Griffin. But they also know that based on what they've seen so far that it is well within the realm of possibility that Griffin will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1.
What worries me about this sort of news is that Griffin might approach his rehabilitation thinking he is the same sort of physical freak as Peterson—that he can recover like he did. This report might give him false hope.
It worries me that he'll rush back too soon, feeling he owes it to the fans or Redskins to start the season.
No one—not Griffin, not the NFL, not the Redskins or its fans—needs Griffin to return to start the season. What everyone needs, most importantly Griffin himself, is that he return when he's 100 percent so that he doesn't jeopardize his future.
Following his rookie season, he's already one of the faces of the NFL and one of the league's most exciting players. Why risk that for a few games during the season?
Griffin needs to make changes in his game, there's no question about that. He needs to protect himself more. He needs to rely on his running abilities less. He needs to go to watch tape of Steve Young and Donovan McNabb, incredibly athletic quarterbacks that approached the game as pocket passers and ran as a last option.
In other words, he needs to change his mentality. He doesn't need to do everything and risk his body on every play. He doesn't need to be a freak of nature that recovers from an ACL tear ahead of schedule.
He needs to be the face of the Redskins and the team's franchise player for the next decade. Every decision he makes in his career should factor in his future as the primary concern.
Peterson was a running back in his late 20s, not a quarterback entering his second year. His position demands the ability to withstand physical brutality. Being a freak of nature is what makes him special.
There are a lot of things that make Griffin special. Yes, healing faster than others may be one of them. However, more importantly, his leadership and ability to become a fantastic pocket quarterback—who is impossible to defend due to his ability to run—is what makes him great.
He has to protect those assets. He has to learn how to be as dangerous a player as possible, while minimizing the risk of another injury.
He needs to undertake that mindset this offseason, not the next time he plays. There is no reason to rush back for Week 1.
We need RGIII for the next 10 years, not for the beginning of September.