Before Robert Griffin III signed with the Cleveland Browns and while he was out on the free-agent market, his former head coach with the Washington Redskins in 2012 and 2013, Mike Shanahan, put in a good word for him to Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher.
While the two might have had differences in the past, Shanahan told ESPN 980 on Wednesday that Griffin called him afterward (h/t Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic):
Robert called me and unbeknownst to me -- Jeff never said anything to me -- he just wanted to thank me for you know, saying nice things about him. I said, ‘Robert I believe this. We talked about this at the end of the season…. I’d be more than happy to talk to all the guys if you want me to talk to [Browns head coach] Hue Jackson, [Jets head coach] Todd Bowles.'
Griffin electrified the league in his rookie season. He was voted Offensive Rookie of the Year, passed for 3,200 yards, added another 815 on the ground and led the Redskins to the playoffs before an injury derailed things.
While Shanahan and Griffin saw success on the field, their relationship wasn't always the best. In fact, Shanahan almost quit after the 2012 season because he believed owner Dan Snyder "empowered" Griffin and played favorites with him, according to ESPN.com's Dan Graziano.
At the end of the 2013 season, Shanahan benched Griffin and told reporters that Snyder "[couldn't] care less about the other positions."
The two seem to have resolved their differences, though. Per Tandler, Shanahan suggested Griffin "be open to running some of the Redskins’ 2012 offense" that saw him put together his best year.
"I was with you when we did some things no one else has ever done and you still have that opportunity if you want to go that direction," Shanahan said he told RG3. “If you don’t, then I think you’re going to struggle.”
The 26-year-old will now have an opportunity to resurrect his career with an organization that needs some new life of its own. If he's able to get his career back on track and lead a turnaround in Cleveland, then Griffin will be one of the best comeback stories in football.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.
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