Reed hasn’t played since Nov. 17 because of a concussion. He has practiced but his headaches have persisted, so he’s been listed as inactive for the past four games. He should be declared done for the last two.
Subject to the NFL’s new concussion protocols, Reed must be cleared to play by an independent neurologist before he can practice and play. Yet Mike Shanahan, as recently as Friday, left open the possibility Reed could return.
Are you kidding? Robert Griffin III has been benched for the rest of the season for his own good, despite the fact that he is not injured. Reed has what I would say is an actual injury (former players and NFL lawyers would agree). Yet Griffin is out but Reed is still on the bubble?
Why would anyone mess with a concussion just so a rookie could play in two garbage games? (And that’s what the remaining two games are. Sure, it’s possible Washington will act as spoiler for the Cowboys, but I’d be surprised, and Reed isn’t needed to accomplish that.)
Seriously, what are the arguments to try to get him active again? So he can win a spot on next year’s team? Please. Despite missing five games this season, Reed remains second on the team in receiving yards, yards per game and yards after the catch. It was clear, before he suffered his concussion, that he and Griffin had a connection. If Griffin has been declared the franchise’s quarterback — and he has — then shouldn’t he have his favorite targets around him?
Reed made a league-wide impression in just nine games because of his receiving abilities as well as his blocking. A third-round draft pick this past spring, Reed was one of the few bright spots of the season before his injury, the Alfred Morris of 2013, and the best tight end on the roster. He shouldn’t have anything to prove.
Shanahan has admitted that perhaps it was probably wrong to let Griffin play hurt last January. Then the same thinking should apply to Reed. Because we have seen what happens when a player exacerbates an injury and misses OTAs and training camp time. If Reed plays again and takes another hard shot, he might end up like Griffin: playing catch-up and not playing it well. And head injuries are not as easy to diagnose and treat as are torn anterior cruciate ligaments. Err on the side of caution, for Reed’s sake.
The quarterback is the most important player on any roster. That’s not up for debate. In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers has missed six games because of a broken collarbone, and his coach is finding it increasingly hard to keep him on the sideline. But he’s doing it.
“It’s not the easiest thing to sit there and tell your franchise quarterback that he can’t play,” Packers Coach Mike McCarthy said after doing just that Friday. “But this is clearly a decision in the best interests of Aaron Rodgers.”
The best interests of the player. What a concept! It apparently applies to quarterbacks. Why not their targets? There are a dozen reasons to play him and not one argument to activate him that makes sense.
This franchise has been under scrutiny for medical decisions made during and after last season, decisions that had led to the dog’s breakfast that is the 2013 season, now mercifully nearing its end. Officially benching Reed for the rest of the season would indicate that Washington is interested in someone other than Griffin, that it protects all of its players, not just its quarterback. And it would show that Washington is worried about the long-term impact of injuries on both the team and the player. After all, wasn’t that the reason Griffin was on the bench Sunday, retrieving game balls and trying to act like everything is normal?
I’m sure Reed wants to play as much as do Griffin and Rodgers do. Too bad. Shanahan needs to show he really can put the health of his players ahead of the team’s agenda in a lost season and make Reed in active for the rest of the season. If it’s the right decision for a healthy player, then it’s the right decision for Reed.
For more by Tracee Hamilton, visit washingtonpost.com/hamilton.