A couple days back, Santana Moss appeared on a podcast with ESPN’s John Clayton, and the topic of Robert Griffin III’s health came up. Clayton asked for a status report.
“He looks more comfortable, because he don’t have to worry about that brace,” Moss said. “I think the brace was the big discomfort last year. You know, he’s a young guy with those fiery legs that want to do so much, and that brace probably gave him a little pinch in the behind, because he couldn’t do the things that he was normally accustomed to doing. You can already see, when we’re out there in conditioning and stuff, he’s running around, looking like the old Robert Griffin.”
Which reminded me that Chris Cooley recently hit a local field with Griffin, and had a similarly rave review. This was before Griffin was permitted to work out with his teammates at Redskins Park; Cooley instead took the QB to his own gym, Lifetime Fitness near Ashburn. The men took turns running routes and throwing passes to each other.
“It’s unbelievable,” Cooley reported. “He’s another person right now. I was like, ‘you’re running unbelievably well.’ It was silly to watch….When you watch him run, you’re like ‘You’re a freak. You’re seriously a freak.’ ”
Cooley spent much of last season speculating that the knee brace was, at least in part, holding Griffin back. Cooley compared it to his own situation coming out of the lockout in 2011, when a different set of knee issues led to swelling and fluid in his joint. A doctor recommended he wear a brace himself.
“I wore a brace for six months,” Cooley recalled. “Then I was like I’m not wearing this [nonsense]. I don’t care if it hurts my knee more. I’m not wearing this brace. It’s a pain in the [onions]. It felt like a 10-pound weight. There are four straps and you have to strap it tight to make it functional. It hurt my calf at the end of a week of wearing it….
“The last preseason game [in 2011], the starters had to do 10 over and backs. After three I was like ‘I’m done. I’m never wearing this thing again.’ Then it sat in my garage. It limits your mobility drastically. They claim it doesn’t, but it did for me, and I can see why he wouldn’t like it.”
Cooley hastened to add that the brace wouldn’t be the only difference between 2013 Griffin and the current model. He speculated that Griffin was reluctant to stick his foot in the ground and cut hard last season. He also said Griffin’s legs could not been in ideal shape for a season after not being able to run for much of last offseason.
“That said, he’s healthy and his knee is good to go now,” Cooley said. “I remember when he came into camp his rookie year, you’d watch him and you were like ‘You’re a freak show. You’re freakily athletic.’ And I definitely saw that again.”