Adam Gettis, left, Robert Griffin III, center, and London Fletcher share a laugh during happier times, a 2012 preseason game against the Colts. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

When Mike Shanahan decided last week to bench Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season, the second-year quarterback turned to those closest to him for advice. Redskins team captain London Fletcher, whose locker neighbors Griffin’s, ranked among them.

The 38-year-old Fletcher has shared knowledge on everything from football to life with the 23-year-old Griffin ever since Washington selected him second overall in 2012.

Although the linebacker understood Griffin’s disappointment over not getting the chance to finish the season, Fletcher told the quarterback that perhaps he could turn the time off into a positive.

“There are a lot of people that pulls and tugs at him, but I think really this a time for him to just kind of exhale,” Fletcher said on Wednesday. “If you look at it at the end of the year, he hurt himself, he didn’t have a chance to really exhale. This is a time for him to exhale, take a step back, re-evaluate different things and say, ‘Hey, what do I need to get to be the player that he knows he can, be the player that everybody knows he can be?’ That would be my advice for him. Really just take some time to clear his head and really decompress from everything that’s happened because he’s really been on a whirlwind if you think about it since his senior year at Baylor, or his last year at Baylor.”

Robert Griffin III and London Fletcher Robert Griffin III and London Fletcher during a 2012 game against the Eagles. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Griffin said that he has tried to take the advice to heart. He admitted that the losses and struggles of the season have had a wearing effect on him. More troubling, however, were the string of negative reports about him that not only have further scrutinized his play, but his character and the actions of family members.

But Griffin said Fletcher advised him on how to handle that pressure as well.

“Fletch told me just to  just to exhale and let it all go,” he said. “You have to let the people that know you defend you. You can’t try to defend yourself or your family in the situation. It’s unfortunate. People won’t understand that. But people that know me, know my parents, know my family, know what goes on around here  they have to defend me.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

●  The Redskins practice at 11:50 on Thursday, with coordinators Kyle Shanahan and Jim Haslett and head coach Mike Shanahan expected to speak with reporters afterward.

More on the Redskins and NFL:

Cousins aims to build off success vs. Falcons

D.C. Sports Bog: Brown says Shanahan has acted professionally | More

Fletcher ’99 percent certain’ he’ll retire | Wants Shanahan back

Outsider: Cousins and Griffin, running same plays

Wise: Bruce Allen, come out come out wherever you are

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