Why Do the Washington Redskins Continue to Jump the Gun with Robert Griffin III?

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 29, 2013

Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (right) talks with Redskins quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur (left) prior to the Redskins game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It may have been a formality. Robert Griffin III's recovery from early-offseason knee surgery has gone swimmingly, and—although the Washington Redskins franchise quarterback doesn't want to put a number on it—he says he's "not below 100 percent," per ESPN.com

You can't mathematically be above 100 percent, so that only means one thing. RG3 was practicing fully with the 'Skins leading up to their final preseason game Thursday, so it was only a matter of time before the team confirmed he would start the season opener Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Still, there was no reason for the Redskins to rush that announcement—not before Dr. James Andrews had a chance to put his stamp of approval on Griffin's return. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport and Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio both reported that Griffin and the 'Skins had yet to receive medical clearance before a source leaked word of RG3's debut to ESPN's Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

It's an indication the organization still hasn't learned its lesson in terms of the way it handles the optics with its most important player. By running a yellow light here, the Redskins are only opening themselves up to a potentially embarrassing and disappointing situation. Considering the tumult that has been attached to Griffin's recovery throughout the offseason, you'd think they'd have learned to play it safe.

Instead, they're risking getting hopes up.

Andrews, who repaired Griffin's torn ACL and LCL in January, is supposed to examine him one more time Thursday in Tampa before making a recommendation. There's little reason to believe that final green light won't be given, but it's a small shame the team couldn't keep everyone mum on the matter for another 24 or 48 hours.

This could be moot soon, but it's a sign that the team still isn't totally understanding how to handle a superstar quarterback. The Redskins threw him to the wolves in his rookie season, and it cost them dearly. And now they're struggling to handle the PR related to his recovery and return to action. 

Maybe Griffin is indeed 100 percent, and maybe he stays that way for a very long time. If that's the case, this won't matter. But he wasn't 100 percent this offseason, and the way he and his employer handled it caused a lot of undue strain on both parties. 

You're going to tell me that I'm nitpicking, and maybe I am. But while Griffin looks to be fully recovered, there's something about the team's approach that feels slightly unhealthy.