In a shocking move, the Washington Redskins decided to keep Robert Griffin III as a backup. Kirk Cousins was named Washington’s starting quarterback earlier this week. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and president Bruce Allen want to keep Griffin despite the financial risk associated with retaining the former Heisman Trophy winner, a source told ESPN.
The oft-injured and much maligned Griffin, who has been sidelined with a concussion since August 20, was scheduled to see a neurologist Friday. The Redskins are still waiting on those results.
Washington coach Jay Gruden stated that Griffin’s future was with the Redskins, but didn’t say in what capacity. Earlier in the year, Gruden had praised Griffin for his hard work and determination but said Cousins earned the job as starter.
Cousins also had sparkling words to say about Griffin in a statement from ABC News.
“I can’t say enough about the class act Robert has been from the day I was drafted to now. The way he has treated me, the way he has handled a lot of adversity — I have marveled at his ability as a rookie to never flinch, to compete as a young player in this league and win rookie of the year and taking our team to the playoffs and winning the division. I marveled at that. The way that he is a fierce competitor, I’ve always respected. He has always been a guy who remains classy, works very, very hard and I’ve learned from that example.”
This is still quite a challenge for Griffin who has spent the past three seasons as a starter for the Redskins. Jay Gruden expressed his admiration and respect for Robert in a statement to Redskins.com.
“Robert is a pro. We have a lot of respect for what he’s accomplished here, 2012 and moving forward with the new offense. He’s done some great things. Really, this is about Kirk doing an excellent job and winning the job. Robert is disappointed, as I’m sure Colt is disappointed. When you have three tough-minded quarterbacks, it’s hard to pick — but it’s my job as a coach to make a decision.”
While Cousins has taken the starting position from Griffin, he knows it doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily keep it. If he performs poorly, Griffin will have to forget the past and be ready to fall back into the saddle as the leader.
If the Redskins were to release Griffin, it would count $6.7 million on their salary cap. They could trade Robert, but that could be difficult, in part because of the $16.12 million option Washington picked up for 2016.
Griffin is learning that being a starter in the NFL is never an easy job. But being a backup with a sky-high price tag, and the name Robert Griffin III is even harder.
[Photo by Matt Hazlott / Getty Images]