Difference is, Smith and Jordan didn’t put their careers at risk by playing in those games. Griffin’s speed and elusiveness are a big part of what makes him special. He already had one major knee injury.
“But you can’t expect him to turn it on and off,” Fletcher said. “He’s going to do whatever he thinks he has to do to win.”
The Post’s LaVar Arrington wonders if Robert Griffin III will ever be the same quarterback after suffering another knee injury in the Redskins’ loss to the Seahawks and offers his injured pinky as a small example of this type of damage that a body can absorb during a career in football.
That was evident after Griffin gave lip service to playing it safe earlier in the season. Following a concussion, Griffin promised his family, teammates and coaches he would play smarter. That lasted a few games.
Griffin’s knee injury occurred late in the season when he ran into the teeth of Baltimore’s defense in an attempt to gain more yards, instead of heading toward the sideline or sliding. He simply can’t do that anymore. That’s what Griffin’s body is screaming at him.
Shanahan, who has the final say on Redskins football matters, hasn’t been nearly as loud as he should be on the subject. Shanahan brought Griffin to Washington and tailored the offense to Griffin’s skills. But the most powerful man in the team’s football operation seems almost intimidated by Griffin.
It’s somewhat understandable. Shanahan’s first two years in the District were awful on and off the field. He couldn’t find a competent quarterback and often put his foot in his mouth. Then Griffin arrived, and the Redskins’ first NFC East championship since the 1999 season followed.
Griffin told Shanahan he wanted to stay in against Seattle. Shanahan remembered how angry Griffin was when Cousins started against Cleveland the week after Griffin injured his knee. If he yanked him from a playoff game, he risked the ire of his franchise player.
Still, Shanahan has a job to do. He’s paid $7 million a season to make smart decisions under pressure. In his biggest moment of this season, Shanahan dropped the ball. Eventually, Griffin would have gotten over any hurt feelings. Even stars don’t always get what they want.
Griffin faces many months of grueling rehabilitation. It will be a hard road back for him. As he struggles to get his body right, Griffin will have a lot of time to think about putting his safety first.
For previous columns by Jason Reid, visit washingtonpost.com/reid.