“That’s my job, not to necessarily do what he likes but to do what’s the best thing for him and this organization,” Shanahan said. “My job is to get him ready for the first game, and that’s what we’re hoping we can do. Without a setback, I believe he will be ready for the first game. And I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that there is no setback and we can have him for the first game of the season. But if there is a setback, then we’ll have to adjust accordingly.”
At the time that Shanahan stood at the podium sharing the modified timeline, Griffin still was out taking his laps around the practice field, signing autographs for fans. It wasn’t clear whether the quarterback had been informed of the decision, and he wasn’t available to reporters following Shanahan’s news conference.
Monday morning, however, Griffin explained that while he understood Shanahan’s responsibility to protect him and still respected his coach, he wished that Shanahan had some flexibility.
“Basically, the parts that I don’t understand is that it’s been fixed,” Griffin said. “The rehab process — my reintegration into the team — have been fixed without any aspect of how I’m doing personally with my knee, with my knee surgery, with my rehab. It’s predetermined, and that’s the one thing I don’t understand. But, like Coach said — he’s 100 percent right — I don’t have to understand it. I don’t have to like it. But at the end of the day, if he plays me Week 1, and I’m ready to go, then I’ll give him a salute and I’ll go play my butt off for him.”
The ‘if’ regarding Week 1 doesn’t exist in Griffin’s mind, however.
“There is no doubt that I’m playing Week 1. That is just the way I feel about it,” he said. He admitted he’d like a few preseason snaps, although he didn’t expect Shanahan to concede on that front.
Shanahan confirmed Griffin’s suspicions, saying “no possibility,” when asked if Griffin could talk his way into preseason games. Andrews had recommended he not play until the regular season, and Shanahan believes it better to err on the side of caution.
“I could bring Robert back three weeks ago. We could’ve been sitting here right now, been practicing two, three weeks ago and all of a sudden something happens to the ACL, and we’re sitting saying, ‘Maybe you should’ve waited an extra week or two.’ I know when the first game is, and I have to do what I think gives him the best chance to be ready for the first game, with the proper reps, the proper practice plan. I like competitors, though. The great ones do that. The great ones want to practice, want to play.”