The Washington Redskins opened their doors to the media Thursday, allowing a glimpse of the entire team in action during this first week of organized team activities. But the focus was on one person — Robert Griffin III.
Less than five months after the quarterback’s reconstructive knee surgery, Griffin was back on the practice field, throwing passes, executing handoffs and running from end zone to end zone. He looked completely transformed from the hobbled player who tore ligaments in his right knee in last season’s playoff game against Seattle.
Wearing a black compression shirt, shorts and neon-yellow cleats, Griffin moved around with ease, laughing with his teammates and watching intently as Kirk Cousins led the first team through scripted plays during practice.
Afterward, in his first meeting with the assembled media since his injury, Griffin was candid and charismatic.
“The knee feels great,” he said at the news conference. “I’m able to do all the stuff out there without any hesitation. I’m excited about that. It’s all about having that confidence. It’s about playing like you were never injured.”
Griffin persuaded Redskins coach Mike Shanahan to set aside some space on the practice field for the quarterback and other injured skill players to work, including tight end Fred Davis, who is recovering from an Achilles injury.
“He looks great,” Davis said of Griffin.
It was a far different feeling a few months ago, when Griffin prepared for surgery. At the time, he didn’t know whether his ACL was torn or not. He woke up after the procedure to discover that it indeed was torn, making his recovery even more challenging.
“It was tough,” he said. “Yeah, I cried. Real men cry. As soon as we finished our little cry festival, I put the date of the first week in my phone and that was my goal since then.”
Griffin said the two major obstacles left in his rehab are explosive sprinting and cutting, and that he’s a bit ahead of schedule. He hopes to be ready for training camp but said he could play in Week 1 without seeing any preseason snaps.
Shanahan wasn’t as quick to commit to Griffin’s timetable, but both acknowledged that they did discuss the events that led to the quarterback’s injury, with Griffin saying the pair “hashed everything out” and that there are no hard feelings.
“It was an unfortunate situation at the end of the season,” Griffin said. “The only thing that needed repair from last season was my knee, and that is repaired. I’m ready to go.”