Griffin’s father, Robert Griffin Jr., has on several occasions voiced concern with the number of running plays called for his son last season, most recently in the current issue of GQ magazine. “You tell a kid that you want him to be there for 14 years, guess what? Historical data will tell you that the more he runs, the more subject he is to career injury,” he said. “You name one quarterback out there that would rather run the football than throw the football and I’ll show you a loser.”
Griffin’s father wrote in a text message last week that his son and Shanahan have a “healthy relationship” and “have [the] same goals” for the team. He said he had no concerns and that “Redskins fans should be happy and excited.”
Shanahan reminded people last week that he and his former two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback in Denver, John Elway, “used to have knock-down, drag-out fights all the time.”
“That’s part of being a competitor, and that’s another reason you have great relationships with your quarterbacks,” Shanahan said. “That’s part of the process. You want that strong mind-set.”
Indeed, when the Redskins opened the preseason Aug. 8 at Tennessee, Griffin was in full uniform even though he wasn’t playing and backup Kirk Cousins was starting. Griffin even went to midfield with other team captains for the pregame coin toss.
“It’s just a player’s mentality: Kirk Cousins is in the huddle talking to his receivers, talking to his running backs,” Hasselbeck said. “I think it’s frustrating for a player in that situation.”
Other Redskins players say they’ve noticed nothing that alarms them. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon said, “We don’t pay attention to it at all.”
Said linebacker London Fletcher: “Coach is just doing what he feels like is best, and Robert wants to get out there. That’s just how any football player is. There’s no concern.”
Those in the coaching fraternity say Shanahan is handling the situation just as he should.
“Knowing what I know about these situations and knowing Mike Shanahan, it won’t materialize into a problem,” former NFL coach Dick Vermeil said. “I don’t know [Griffin]. Everyone says he’s a great kid. I think he ought to fall in line, keep his mouth shut and focus on doing the things he can do on the football field. But most of the time, these things are not nearly as big in the locker room as they are to people on the outside.”
Dave Sheinin contributed to this report.