The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Shannon Sharpe offers the ultimate RGIII take


While there have been plenty of mid-stream season obituaries written for Robert Griffin III over the past week, there will be more, written at greater length, and with a greater range of topics. Some — like ours — will be incisive and thought-provoking and subtle. Others will be scalding in their hotness.

Shannon Sharpe, amazingly, has already offered the apotheosis of hot RGIII season obituary takes. During an appearance with Pat Kirwan and Vic Carucci on SiriusXM NFL Radio over the weekend, Sharpe hit every possible off-field critique in just a few minutes of talking: the branding, the endorsements, the family involvement, the playcalling lobby, the practice habits, the documentary, the Kentucky Derby, the Shanahan feud, the locker room relationships.

I mean, this is magisterial.

The Branding

“I’ve said this early on,” Sharpe said. “I felt that he was more concerned about building a brand instead of playing football. And maybe the worst thing that could possibly happen was being in the Andrew Luck draft. Because Andrew Luck was building his brand of football that he played on Sundays and Mondays. Robert Griffin was trying to sell sandwiches and trying to sell T-shirts and tennis shoes.”

The Offense

“Even though [Griffin] won rookie of the year, everybody was talking about how ahead of his time Andrew Luck was, because he was able to throw the ball from the pocket,” Sharpe said. “But what RGIII didn’t realize, Andrew Luck had played in a pro style system his whole life. So throwing from the pocket was nothing for him….And so [Griffin] says ‘Well this is what I want to do,’ but you’ve never done it before. You played in a spread system in high school, you played in a spread system in college, and you’re coming off an injury. And you want to just be able to say okay, I’m not running anymore, I’m not running the spread anymore, I’m throwing from the pocket. But you’ve never done it.”

The Distractions

“Look at what happened in the offseason when he had the surgery,” Sharpe said. “He did a documentary. He gets married. He goes on a honeymoon. He goes to the Kentucky Derby. Are you really really serious about football, or are you serious serious about what football can provide for you? Because there’s a difference in the two. The guys that are serious serious about football — your Peyton Mannings, your Tom Bradys — I’m not saying don’t advertise or do endorsements dollars. But there’s a time and a place for everything. And I think he jumped on that and said ‘Okay, this is what I want to do, but I don’t think he thought it through far enough.’ ”

The Family

“And for me, look, you’ve got to get your parents out of your business,” Sharpe said. “You’ve got to be a man. You’ve got to grow up. Mom, dad, I love you, but I’ve got to do this on my own now. This is what I’ve got to do. This is what’s gonna be best for my career. And I don’t see it happening.”

The Shanahans

“I said this before, I don’t know if any professional athlete has had a more dramatic rise and precipitous fall than what we’ve witnessed,” Sharpe said. “But what we’re seeing right now is that what Mike saw — because now you can’t blame Mike and Kyle. Well they don’t support him, they didn’t want him. Well here’s a guy that comes in and one of the reasons he got the job is because he said I can get Robert Griffin [going], look at what I did with Andy Dalton.

The Practice Habits

“See a lot of people mistake habit for hard work,” Sharpe said. “Doing something over and over again is not working hard. Just because you show up to work every day at 8:30 and you don’t have to be there until 9:30, don’t mistake that [for hard work]. And I don’t want fans who are listening to think well he shows up an hour early, he’s working hard. Nahhh. Nah nah nah. That’s habit. There’s a difference between the two.”

The Locker Room

“You can get in front of the media and say ‘Yeah, I’m working hard,’ ” Sharpe said. “You can’t do it in front of those other 52 guys in the locker room. You can’t fool your teammates, because they see you. They see you every day, and they see you more than your family sees you. So if you think you can fool those guys in that locker room? Nah.”