A year removed from a failed experiment with the Cleveland Browns, Robert Griffin III is three weeks away from having spent an entire NFL season not on a roster. But that didn’t have to be the case, at least not according to the former Washington Redskins quarterback.
In an interview with ESPN’s “SC6” hosts Jemele Hill and Michael Smith on Tuesday, Griffin said he had offers from two teams to join them this season, but he turned down both because ultimately the situation wasn’t right for him with either franchise.
“I had interest in the offseason,” Griffin said. “It just wasn’t the right fit and I had to make that decision for myself to say, ‘Look, if I don’t accept this offer, there’s a chance I won’t play football this year.’ I would talk to my family, and I was okay with that, okay with the fact that it might happen.”
The Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens were the teams that Griffin said extended him offers. He turned down the Cardinals because they had too many quarterbacks, and Baltimore’s offer came too close to the start of the regular season and he didn’t want to rush his preparation.
“In Arizona, the reason it wasn’t a good fit was because Carson [Palmer] was there,” Griffin said. “I was willing to come in and work behind an experienced veteran quarterback who’s done a lot of great things. They had the backup in [Drew] Stanton and they had also brought in Blaine Gabbert. Nobody lets four quarterbacks get practice time. That was the issue. It wasn’t the coach. The coach is a great coach. He’s a quarterback whisperer and I wanted to go there and learn from him. And it’s a stable franchise so that was all great. It just wasn’t the right decision for me and I had to make that decision and try to make the smart, educated decision.”
Griffin continued, “Baltimore was just, they offered me a contract right before the first preseason game to start against the Redskins. Selfishly, I could have said, ‘Yeah, I’ll take that. I want to go play against them,’ but I knew I wouldn’t have been ready with that offense, with those guys to go put my best foot forward. When I step on the field the next time, I want to make sure I put my best foot forward and make sure that, obviously, I stay healthy but I get a nice repertoire with the team and with the athletes and the coaches.”
Griffin’s explanation for why he’s sitting out is peculiar, though, since the former NFL rookie of the year had previously said he was being kept out of the league, aligning his situation with Colin Kaepernick’s plight.
“It comes down to the teams, ultimately,” Griffin told 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier in late October, “and at this time, the teams don’t want to sign myself or Kaep, and that’s just the way it is. It doesn’t mean you stop working. It doesn’t mean you give up. It means you continue to work and you do everything you possibly can to make sure, that when you get your next opportunity, that you go out and ball out.”
Many have claimed Kaepernick, who also is without an NFL job, is being blackballed by NFL owners for his role in starting the players’ anthem protest movement last year, which has continued in his absence this season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has repeatedly denied that Kaepernick hasn’t been signed because of his politics, instead saying that teams are making football decisions in passing on the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
As for Griffin, after leading the Redskins to a division title and the playoffs as a rookie in 2012, he had a dismal sophomore season and then lost his starting job the following year. He then was cut following the 2015 season, in which Kirk Cousins took over as the full-time starter, but landed in Cleveland, where he started five games and threw two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Griffin, however, said Tuesday that he’s “ready” now in case any playoff contenders are in need of a quarterback.
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