The Washington Redskins have gone all-in with quarterback Robert Griffin III, making sure fans and league officials know there's a shot he will be back in time for next year's season opener. In doing so, some feel they have threatened the long-term future of the soon-to-be-sophomore QB.
That's the latest from Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole, who reported on Sunday that close friends and confidants are worried that the Redskins are allowing internal pressure to win cloud what they feel is most important in RG3's rehab—his ability to be 100 percent.
Here's an excerpt from Cole's piece:
The feeling from some of those close to Griffin is that both the team – which took great criticism for allowing Griffin to play through injury in the playoffs against Seattle – and others around Griffin will put undue pressure on him to return too quickly and risk re-injuring the knee.
A source added this quote to put a deeper dent in any potential return:
"Again, it's been like six weeks; what are we doing this for?" the source said. "He's not running yet. …It's ridiculous to talk about."
When you look at all the evidence, it's clear that RG3's friends may have a point.
After a pair of horrific hits in the regular season against the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens, Griffin was deemed just fine to participate in the team's postseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. RG3 had an injury scare early in the game, but coach Mike Shanahan and the training staff allowed him to stay in the game—a decision that ultimately led to Griffin's second ACL tear in his right knee.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner had the same injury while at Baylor in 2009.
To make matters more interesting, Adidas has released an ad campaign (similar to the one with Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose) that claims Griffin is "all-in" for Week 1 of the 2013 season:
After the video was released, Griffin made sure to clarify on Twitter that he was going to take his time with the recovery process and make an informed decision about getting back on the field:
Feel like I need to say this..Although my goal is to start Week 1, that doesn't mean I will compromise my career to do so.— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) February 19, 2013
For a reference point, Rose has yet to return to NBA action since injuring his ACL in April 2012.
However, pundits are quick to point out the recovery time of 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, who returned from a similar scare in record time. After being injured during the final week of the 2011 regular season, AD defied all the odds in 2012 and had one of the best seasons a running back has ever had in the NFL.
It's putting unfair pressure on Griffin, though, and apparently his friends are noticing.
As is Dr. James Andrews, the man who performed Griffin's second surgery following his Jan. 9 injury. Per Cole's report, he wants the general public to know that Peterson's return was an exception to the rule, and not the standard for all athletes:
"There's an old saying, 'You can't bargain with Mother Nature.' So we can do all we want to get somebody well – they can be motivated, they can work hard – but Mother Nature still dictates when they can go back to play...Adrian is a whole different athlete, so we can't extrapolate what he did to the average athlete with an ACL injury."
After selecting Griffin with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft (after trading away two future No. 1 picks to the St. Louis Rams in the process), the Redskins made great strides in his first season.
A 3-6 start left many hoping for next season, but a seven-game win streak to close out the 2012 regular season put the 'Skins in position to make the postseason. After that kind of success combined with the significant assets it took to acquire RG3 in the first place, it's understandable that management might be antsy for his return.
That's not how is friends see it.
Knee injuries have ravaged the careers of many great players over the years. Hopefully the team surrounding RG3 during his rehab and recovery process makes the decision best for the electric QB's future, and not the one that would put Washington in position for a Week 1 win.