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Orakpo: RGIII is ‘a different cat,’ but is respected

Brian Orakpo. (Mark E. Tenally/AP)

During his guest appearance on the NFL Network’s “NFL AM” Friday morning, Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo discussed his impending free agency, but also gave his opinion on quarterback Robert Griffin III, and what went wrong for his team during the 2014 season.

Orakpo said he thinks much of the off-field issues with the Redskins were taken out of context, and he said that Griffin, despite finding himself at the center of controversy often last season, is well respected in the locker room. But Orakpo does believe the quarterback is often misunderstood.

“He does, man. He does,” Orakpo said when asked if Griffin had the respect of his teammates. “And he has the respect from me. He has the respect from a lot of the veterans in the locker room, a lot of the young guys. He’s a different cat. Everybody has different personalities, so you can’t beat the drum to other person’s beat too. RGIII’s a different cat, but he has respect from everybody on how he works. Every time I drive to the facility, I see his car in the same position – first car in the parking lot every day, working. Working on his craft, working on his body, working to be the best quarterback he can be. It just sucks because I see how hard he works and how hard he tries, and sometimes it just doesn’t reflect on the field.”

Griffin received harsh outward criticism for his poor play as he returned from a dislocated ankle, and ultimately got benched. But he also rubbed his teammates and coach Jay Gruden the wrong way for bluntly discussing the struggles of his teammates. Other times Griffin has drawn criticism for his active social media habits, or for how he relates to teammates.

Asked if Griffin was to blame for the constant scrutiny, Orakpo said yes and no.

“That’s just how he is, though. Like I told you. RGIII, he’s different cat,” Orakpo explained. “He’s not how everybody perceives the quarterback to be. He’s very outspoken, he’s very, like, um, it’s kind of hard to explain, but he’s just a different cat that you have to know as a person. And him being from Texas, I know how to relate where most cats wouldn’t know how to relate. So, I never had a problem with RGIII. We’re actually good friends. He just gets a bad rap sometimes.”