The Washington Redskins Circus is back in town — the only thing missing is the big top (unless you count the practice bubble at Redskins Park).
Wednesday’s tension-filled, surreal press conferences from a defiant Mike Shanahan, a chastened Robert Griffin and a caught-in-the-middle Kirk Cousins were just the latest in a series of headline-grabbing stories out of Ashburn.
From leaked reports of Shanahan’s desire to quit to the notion that team owner Dan Snyder offers preferential treatment to his franchise quarterback, the idea of the 3-10 Redskins going meekly into the offseason has been blown up.
“That’s one of the unfortunate things about this team,” linebacker London Fletcher said. “Each week it seems like it’s something new that we’re dealing with, some type of outside noise, whether we bring it on ourselves or not. You thought you were away from that last year and now it’s back.”
The Redskins’ game Sunday at Atlanta is way down on the list of concerns for this organization, what with Shanahan allegedly angling to get fired, the benching of Griffin for Cousins in the final three games, lingering issues from last year’s Seattle playoff contest and the complete collapse of a division winner.
“I think anytime that you have a year left on your contract and you have three wins, that’s going to be out there,” Shanahan said of the reports on his fate.
“That’s the nature of our business. If you had three years on your contract, there probably wouldn’t be any noise. I think we all understand what goes on with the length of a contract, but that’s the nature of the National Football League.”
Caught up in this year’s soap opera are the players in the Redskins’ locker room. Unlike in past seasons, the team has stuck together, save for a few snipes made by Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss at Griffin.
“The stuff that goes around the team really doesn’t bother you from going out there and playing football,” Moss said.
“The thing that bothers this team the most is always the questions about Robert every week. In a nutshell, this season has been that [kind of] season and when it’s all over, I want to know what y’all are going to have next to talk about.”
Don’t worry. There’s always something.