Robert Griffin III fired back at Santana Moss on Tuesday, one day after Moss claimed during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan that Griffin, his former teammate in Washington, gloated when Mike Shanahan was fired as the Redskins’ coach following the 2013 season.
“Santana Moss, I treat you like a brother and have always had your back,” Griffin, who has been out of a job since the Cleveland Browns released him in March, tweeted. “To openly lie about me is a betrayal.”
Griffin, who added that he’s been “lied on a lot over the years,” didn’t stop there. In a series of tweets that followed, the free agent quarterback described his first two years in Washington under Shanahan as an “impossible situation with a coach who never wanted me” and said he’s been “the good soldier” throughout his career.
During his final two seasons in Washington, Shanahan repeatedly praised the Redskins’ trade with the Rams for the No. 2 pick that allowed the team to select Griffin out of Baylor in the 2012 NFL draft, but he has since made it clear that he had serious doubts about the decision.
“Everyone was celebrating,” Shanahan told The Undefeated’s Jason Reid in 2016. “I just didn’t think it was very smart to give up that much for a guy who we didn’t even know if he could drop back and throw. When I finally sat down with Dan [Snyder], I said, ‘Hey, you own the team. We can work with him and do some things. But we haven’t seen anything on tape that warrants giving [up] this type of compensation.’ To me, it was absolutely crazy. But I told Dan that if that’s what he wanted to do, I’d make it work.”
Shanahan did make it work during Griffin’s rookie year, and the Redskins won the NFC East on the strength of Griffin’s record-setting season. Everything changed after Griffin tore ligaments in his right knee in Washington’s playoff loss to the Seahawks in January 2013. There were reports that Griffin requested a meeting with Shanahan after the season and asked him to change his offense. In 2015, two years after he was fired, Shanahan confirmed that the meeting took place. He said Griffin wanted to throw more and run less, and mentioned specific plays that he would and wouldn’t run.
During an appearance on “Redskins Nation” in 2015, Griffin described the reports that he asked Shanahan to change his offense as an “urban legend” and downplayed any animosity between him and the coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
“Actually, just like any coach-quarterback combination, we had healthy conversations about everything, evolving as a player,” Griffin said. “There’s a lot of dark things that are talked about with Mike and Kyle and those things, but it was never a wholesale, ‘This is what we’re gonna run, this is what we’re not gonna run’ [demand]. You know, I’m a player, I’m here to play. As we like to say, I just work here. Open discussion. Coaches get to call the plays, and players have to run them.”
Moss suggested Monday that Griffin, who was benched for the final three games of the Redskins’ 3-13 season in 2013, got what was coming to him when Jay Gruden was hired to replace Shanahan. Gruden was openly critical of Griffin’s performance during the 2014 season and made the decision before the 2015 season opener to name Kirk Cousins the Redskins’ starting quarterback.
“So, 2014 comes, and Jay Gruden comes in, and he don’t care,” Moss said. “We see that now. He doesn’t care. He don’t care what he says about you, he doesn’t care what he says at you. And he rips RG every chance he gets, like every meeting, and we’re sitting there looking like, ‘Yeah. You know what? You were just sooo happy that Mike and [offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] and them is gone, but now you’re getting your behind ripped every day, because you’re not playing the kind of football that we need to play for us to be successful.’ So, it comes back and bites you in your behind, because now you see this guy is at home.”
Griffin took the high road when he was released in March 2016 after dressing for only one game and never taking a snap during the 2015 season. Griffin signed with the Cleveland Browns, won the starting job in training camp and was named a team captain.
“Coaches had nothing to do with it,” Browns Coach Hue Jackson said of Griffin being voted a captain last September. “This was all his teammates. Obviously, he has embedded himself within the organization and this team, his teammates. I think that he’s shown them that he’s somebody that they can depend on and look to and that he is working each and every day to not only better himself but also his teammates.”
Griffin was injured in the Browns’ opener and limited to five games, but he helped Cleveland win its only game of the season in Week 16.
“Some so desperately want me to fit this negative narrative that has been pushed about me,” Griffin tweeted Tuesday. “Never have. Never will. Proved it in Cleveland. Voted Captain. Came back to play for my teammates just to help us win 1 game. With a broken shoulder. Stop the lies.”