“My goal is Week 1,” he said. “That’s all I’m really worried about.”
Griffin, who underwent surgery on his right knee on Jan. 9, said he’s been off crutches for nearly two weeks and was walking Saturday with only the slightest hint of a limp. Sporting a striped burgundy and gold neck tie, Griffin had no problem taking the stage at Mahalia Jackson Theater and accepting his award from New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.
“It’s a truly a blessing to be up here and be able to stand, first and foremost,” Griffin told the star-studded crowd. “I had a tough injury there at the end of the season.”
The quarterback had made no public appearances since injuring his knee in the Redskins’ Jan. 6 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks and likened Saturday night to a “coming-out party,” as he offered updates on his progress and his offseason hopes. Griffin said when Washington fans see him take the field next, they’ll notice changes.
“You will see a different version of me,” he said. “I vowed to my teammates and to myself after my first knee injury that I’ll come back a better player and that’s what I plan to do after this one as well. You won’t see the same Robert Griffin. You’ll see a better Robert Griffin.”
Saying “hindsight is 20/20,” Griffin didn’t express any complaints about the disastrous end to his rookie season. He said Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan briefly visited him in Florida last month, but the two didn’t dissect the coach’s and the quarterback’s decision to continue playing against the Seahawks on the injured knee.
“There’s a lot of different things that we wish we would’ve done differently as a team,” he said. “I can’t get into that with you guys. That’s a conversation I have to have with Coach, that I will have with Coach.”
“I think the only regret and bitterness is the fact that we lost,” he continued. “We felt like we should’ve won the game. There’s things we could’ve done to win the game. It’s a learning experience for everybody. That’s what it is. When I get back to Redskins Park, I’ll talk to Coach and we’ll move on from there.”
Griffin has been rehabbing in Gulf Breeze, Fla., and said he has sessions twice a day with specialists and then does a third by himself back at the hotel. He said he’ll be visiting Ashburn this week and will split the rest of his rehab between Florida and the Washington area.
“I went through the toughest part already, so it’s now it’s just about being smart, not pushing it too much,” he said. “That’s what the doctors are there for, to keep me from doing too much.”
Griffin has already gone through knee rehabilitation once before. He missed most of his 2009 season at Baylor, recovering from surgery to the same knee. The familiarity with this process, he said, will be helpful as he spends the offseason recovering.