Griffin brainwashed? Hard to imagine

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
6:55
PM ET
RICHMOND, Va. -- On Monday, Robert Griffin III heard the question, smiled, paused and thought about it. He hesitated briefly, then let everyone know he didn’t want to "B.S." anyone. And then he talked about how he didn’t understand Mike Shanahan’s plan for his return. It caused a stir, mostly for its honesty.

Griffin
This is the guy Donovan McNabb says has been brainwashed by the Redskins. If there’s one thing Griffin isn’t, it’s brainwashed.

McNabb, of course, once again reiterated a desire to talk to Griffin, who has declined to do so. The issue resurfaced because in the current issue of GQ magazine Griffin said of any talk with McNabb: “I don’t think Donovan is an idiot by any means. But right now, it’s probably best that we don’t talk."

McNabb said on WJFK radio in Washington on Wednesday that members of the Redskins’ offensive staff contacted him last year about reaching out to Griffin. However, multiple Redskins team sources were surprised by this statement, with one high-ranking official laughing at the idea that this would even be a possibility.

McNabb was an accomplished NFL player who guided Philadelphia to five NFC Championship Game appearances and one Super Bowl. Had his career ended there, without pit stops in Washington and Minnesota, then McNabb’s voice might have carried weight.

But his one season in Washington was notable for what didn’t happen. McNabb struggled to fully grasp the offense, coaches knocked him for his work ethic and players talked about it privately last season when comparing him to Griffin. When a point was made contrasting how McNabb worked as opposed to Griffin, one veteran said, “Oh, you noticed.”

Griffin is a smart kid who has to know what the coaches (and fans) think of McNabb. He’s a lightning rod in Washington. McNabb’s thought of Griffin talking to someone who could understand his situation has some validity, just in terms of helping a young kid navigate the path to high-profile stardom. It’s a road few can understand –- a guy like John Elway, a superstar who played for, and had success, under Shanahan, would probably be better.

But it’s not as if Griffin is a troubled kid making poor decisions. Is he headstrong? Yes. Competitive? Beyond belief. Has he made some missteps this offseason? Yes. Can he learn some things? Of course. He's only 23. But none of those missteps would affect his career. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t go from major knee surgery to starting the season opener in only eight months.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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