RICHMOND — Quarterback Robert Griffin III, taking unusual measures to try to squelch the notion that he is at odds with Coach Mike Shanahan, said Tuesday at the Washington Redskins’ training camp that “there is no conflict” between the two.
Griffin walked to the podium in the media room at the Redskins’ training camp facility in Richmond following Tuesday’s practice and spoke to reporters for just over a minute. He did not take any questions.
“I normally only talk on Mondays so I’m sorry to be up here again talking to you guys,” Griffin said. “But I just needed to address something that was said, or something that’s been going along in the media since I had my press conference yesterday. I just want everybody to know if there’s any questions about if there’s a rift between me and Coach or if there’s a conflict, there is no conflict. Coaches coach. I’m the player. Coach has a plan and I’m abiding by that plan.”
Griffin’s media schedule is carefully managed and he has conducted news conferences only on Mondays in recent weeks during training camp. But his comments Tuesday came a day after he said he did not fully understand Shanahan’s plan for easing him back toward full-time duties as he works his way back from knee surgery in January. That led to widespread conjecture that the relationship between Griffin and his coach is fractured.
“I’m doing everything the coaches are asking me to do,” Griffin said. “I trust those guys. They want me to have a long career. And that’s what the part of this plan is about. Yesterday I voiced my opinion about it because I was asked about it. And that’s been twisted and turned and tried to put against this team. And that’s not what we want. Like I said, coaches coach. You know, Kirk [Cousins], Rex [Grossman] and Pat [White] have done a great job all offseason with the team, getting in and out of the huddle and making plays. It’s an honor for me to be in the quarterback room with those guys. So that being said, I’m excited about tomorrow.”
Griffin is scheduled to participate in full team drills during Wednesday’s practice for the first time during this training camp.
[update, 7:12 p.m.]
Shanahan, speaking minutes later at his regularly scheduled post-practice news conference, said he “had no idea” beforehand that Griffin was going to make such a statement Tuesday.
“One thing that’s interesting about a relationship between a head coach and a quarterback, it’s a constant communication,” Shanahan said. “We’ll have lots of talks. And that’s just part of a quarterback and a coach maturing in their relationship as time goes on. But that happens all the time in the National Football League. I did not know that Robert was going to speak to you…. Whatever he said hopefully was good. Hopefully you guys enjoyed it.”
Shanahan reiterated that he has no problem with Griffin’s strong desire to resume full-time duties.
“I think the main thing is it’s always tough when you’ve got a great competitor like Robert,” Shanahan said. “He wants to play. I think you can see his body language. He wants to be out there. That’s a positive I shared with you yesterday. So I love that. That’s the mind-set. But we do have a plan for Robert. And hopefully that plan will work. I’m hoping that there’s no setback. He has looked good. And hopefully we can keep on getting ready for the first game. Hopefully there is no setback where we can do that.”
Shanahan said that he and John Elway, his former two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback in Denver, “used to have knock-down, drag-out fights all the time,” and added: “That’s part of being a competitor and that’s another reason you have great relationships with your quarterbacks. That’s part of the process. You want that strong mind-set. But at the same time, when I look back at my experience dealing with all these injuries, I think I’ve got a good feel what a guy can do and what he can’t do, what it takes to get him ready for his first game. That’s what I hope to do.”
Shanahan declined to say how many snaps Griffin will be permitted to take Wednesday during full team drills.
“I’m gonna try to keep this very exciting for everybody so you guys can count the reps,” Shanahan said. “We’ve got a plan. We’ve got a plan for it. Each week it’ll be a little bit different and we’ll see how the plan goes. Once I share the plan with you, if I do change it, then all of a sudden the world starts tumbling down. I don’t need it on ‘SportsCenter’ every time he takes a rep. So we’ll just see how he practices tomorrow. We’ll definitely have a plan for him over the next three days and we’ll talk about it after each practice.”
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