Robert Griffin III is medically cleared to return to the football field, but that doesn't mean he'll step foot on one until absolutely necessary.
That's according to ESPN's Adam Schefter per "thoughts of some in the Washington Redskins organization."
Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 23, 2013
If those reports are true, they would show head coach Mike Shanahan learned his lesson after pushing RG3's knee to, and ultimately past, its limit in the team's first-round playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks early in 2013.
The renowned Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year's torn knee ligaments on January 8, and per Schefter's article, "doctors predicted Griffin III would miss seven to nine months."
Regardless of how his knee feels in mid-August, under no circumstances should RG3 take any snaps in the preseason.
If he were entering his rookie season, it would be a different story.
But RG3 proved he's capable of high-caliber NFL quarterback play in 2012. He led the Redskins from 3-6 to 10-6 and was integral in the club winning its first NFC East title since 1999.
Griffin III threw 12 touchdowns to only two interceptions in the six games he started and won to end the year. During that span, he tacked on 286 rushing yards as well.
His knee injury looked relatively gruesome and, with major damage to both the ACL and MCL, the most intensive form of precaution should be taken. It doesn't appear the Redskins have rushed back RG3 in any way, shape or form this offseason, and they shouldn't get overly anxious to put him back on the field for any part of a meaningless preseason.
Sure, RG3 has been Adrian Petersonian concerning the speed of his rehabilitation process, and there's a chance the world-class athlete returns to pre-injury form just like the Minnesota Vikings running back did a season ago. But much more harm than good could come from Griffin III playing in a preseason outing.
He has a firm grasp on the offense—although one can expect he won't be running as often in his sophomore campaign—and doesn't necessarily need to acclimate himself to the quickness and complexity of the NFL game.
Should Robert Griffin III play in the preseason?
Teams are adamant about not showing or tipping any of their regular-season plays, tendencies or wrinkles in the preseason, anyway. So even if opposing defenses have new plans to stop Griffin III, they likely won't be implemented on the field before the regular season.
Even as a newcomer in 2012, Griffin III only threw 31 passes in the preseason, 17 of which came in the third exhibition game.
Who knows. The extra month of rest may be precisely what the dual-threat signal-caller needs to avoid injury this year.
Remember, he can and should participate in team-controlled training camp sessions. Wearing the "you-can't-touch-me" yellow uniform to avoid contact will be the perfect way for RG3 to reestablish rapport with his receivers, work on fundamental subtleties and shake off rust that accumulates during any offseason.
To protect their foundational franchise player, who happens to play the game's most vital position, the Washington Redskins must keep Robert Griffin III off the field until the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 for, you know, the first game that actually counts.