This whole thread of Donovan McNabb reaching out to Robert Griffin III to offer guidance first became a story when Mike Wise wrote a column about it during the offseason. Griffin said he was good, and then said more on the topic to GQ in next month’s issue.
“I don’t think Donovan is an idiot by any means,” Griffin told the magazine. “But right now, it’s probably best we don’t talk.”
McNabb, obviously, responded to Griffin this week on his own radio show, saying, “I’m just trying to help him. Clearly the young generation, they think they have all the answers.”
So then LaVar Arrington and Chad Dukes landed an interview with McNabb on 106.7 The Fan, in which McNabb went into a bit more detail on why he wanted to speak with Washington’s current quarterback.
“Everything we say on radio gets flipped around,” McNabb joked, before getting into the explanation. “What I was saying was I reached out to RGIII. And that was because I received calls. Talking to some of the guys that were there [in Washington], that worked in the PR department, that were coaching on the coaching staff, they would have liked for us just to get a chance to talk in his rookie year, to kind of prepare him for what’s next.”
“So you were solicited?” LaVar asked.
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” McNabb confirmed. “See, this is the thing: I’ve talked to the Colin Kaepernicks, the Russell Wilsons, the Cam Newtons, Vince Young, Jason Campbell….”
“All black,” LaVar noted.
“Well, it’s a thing that I think people tend to forget about,” McNabb said. “Because as an African-American, you need to talk to people who have been in your shoes, people who have witnessed and been a part of what’s there for you, and what’s next. And I think that’s very important, for us to have the opportunity to reach out to someone who has pretty much the same particular background, or the path that you’re going through. That’s something that’s very important to me. So it was an opportunity for me to reach out. If he took it he took it, if he didn’t he didn’t. There’s no gripes about it. Hey, he said it’s not the right time. No problem. I moved on.
“And then if he calls at some point, that’s great,” McNabb continued. “But I think what people need to realize is I moved on throughout my career. I’m in Plan B of my life. This is my job, and this is what we do. We talk about issues that are going on in sports. We focus on what teams are doing and what they’re not doing, and what we’re seeing here, just like everybody else. And our job is to let the viewers and listeners know our thoughts on it.”
Dukes then spoke up, asking McNabb how his time in D.C. influences his thoughts on the current situation.
“Well, one thing you have to understand, I enjoyed my time in Washington,” McNabb said. “I’ve still got my place out there in Virginia. I enjoyed the people of Washington. Now, every situation is not going to work. It didn’t work in Minnesota. Am I bitter about that as well? Am I bitter about the Philadelphia Eagles? I decided to go back and they retired my number, they retired me in the Ring of Honor. You know, that’s a big honor….
“So there’s no reason for me to be bitter,” he said. “Is Peyton Manning bitter that they let him go in Indianapolis? No — he moved on. So when I make comments about the Washington Redskins, if I make comments about the Philadelphia Eagles, if I make comments about the Minnesota Vikings, that’s my job. That’s what my job title entitles me to do, is to talk about these issues. So we all talk about them, we all see them, through the rehab process with RGIII.
“The thing that I said was man I would love to just sit down and talk to this guy, because right now, you’re putting so much expectations on your shoulders for all the viewers and fans. Then come Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, Game 4, if you’re not yourself, then the question’s gonna go back, is he fully healthy? Everything that we’ve seen throughout these OTAs and mini-camps, you kind of led us to believe that he’s 100 percent, like Adrian Peterson. But he’s not. So there are a lot of questions up in the air, that I’m sure you guys are asking. The fact that I said it and they want to continue to go back to my one year in Washington, and act like I’m a bitter old man….The whole thing about it is we need to just focus on what I said. And now that I’m explaining it, now that kind of clears things up.”
Arrington then asked about the suggestion that McNabb is jealous of Griffin, pointing out his pre-draft comments about how RGIII would not fit with the Shanahans’ offense.
“Well, I said it wouldn’t work out if egos played a major part,” McNabb said. “Now, I’ve been there in Washington. I know how the egos are. And you report on the Washington Redskins; you know how the egos are. And I said it wouldn’t work if egos played a major part. Here you have a quarterback who won the Heisman, he’s highly touted, he’s coming in with a little swag and an ego himself. And we have Mike Shanahan, who had success with John Elway in Denver, he’s received a big contract out there in Washington, we know he had an ego. I mean, Kyle Shanahan has an ego. It’s his offense.
“But they catered the offense around [Griffin's] ability, and I gave them credit for it. I’ve given Shanahan credit for the way he’s handled this preseason, not allowing Robert Griffin to lead him in the wrong direction. There’s no need for him to play at this point. He’s not ready. Get him ready for the regular season.”
There were several other questions, but the last on this topic came when Arrington asked McNabb how he seems the Griffin-Shanahan relationship going in the future.
“What I see is a situation where it’s not based so much on their relationship, but it’s on the success of the team,” McNabb said. “Really, it comes down to Shanahan. If they’re able to win the NFC East again, that’s great. And if your quarterback for all 16 games and playoffs is Robert Griffin, then it works out well. You know, winning cures everything. But once things start to go south, then you know how it is in the locker room. Fingers start to point. Jealousy picks up. A little bit of hatred and bigotry. And all of the sudden now people are looking at each other sideways, talking about getting their own.”
Before he left to do his own radio show, McNabb had one final thing to say.
“I hope I cleared it up for everybody out there,” he offered, “but I’m sure there’ll be a whole bunch of people with their own opinions.”