The wildly gyrating career of Robert Griffin III has taken another turn; Griffin has been given his release by the Washington Redskins.
Griffin in his rookie season led the 2012 Redskins to the NFC East title and first round of the playoffs as a double threat, running and passing. But in the first-round game against Seattle, Griffin suffered a brutal ligament tear in his right knee, which forced him to evolve into a drop-back passer.
Griffin still remained as the starting quarterback as the 2015 season neared, but when he showed only intermittent signs of competence in the preseason and suffered a concussion in the third exhibition game, the Redskins benched him in favor of Kirk Cousins. Griffin was demoted to third string, never taking a snap during the regular season.
Before the 2012 draft, the Redskins traded three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams for the second overall pick in order to grab Griffin, who had won the Heisman Trophy.
Griffin, a religious Christian, posted a classy response to his departure on his WhoSay account, writing:
It was a blessing guys. After 4 years, my days as a part of this team have come to an end. I just want to take the time to say thank you #SkinsNation. Thank you for welcoming my family with open arms in 2012. You guys made it truly an honor to play for you and I couldn’t imagine starting my career anywhere else. Thank you to Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen, all the Skins coaches, training staff, equipment managers and everyone in the organization for giving me an opportunity to play this beautiful game at the highest level here in Washington. A special thanks to front desk extraordinaire B.J. Blanchard, who always has a smile on her face and is the plug for chocolate chips cookies. Thank you to my teammates for all the memories & relationships over the past 4 years. You guys have helped thru all the ups and downs over the years and have become a part of my family for life. I wish you all the best and you always have a brother to lean on. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Although my time here is over, I’m excited about what the future brings!!! I look forward to finding the team where God has me to be and growing with that team on the way to World Championships. God Bless #ThankYou
Griffin tweeted to his fans:
It was a blessing guys. I just want to say thank you. pic.twitter.com/wzHbsRMlhL
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) March 7, 2016
The Redskins will save $16.155 million by releasing Griffin, who has the freedom to sign anywhere. Advocates supporting Griffin’s talents note that he began the 2013 season with three 300-yard games and led the Redskins to victory on a game-winning drive against Philadelphia in 2014.
One scout told the Washington Post, “Of course he can still play. He can make all the throws; he can run. He’s shown that. It isn’t just on the player. Coaching does come into it. You’ve got to be willing to adapt your system to a player’s strengths. I know he didn’t want to run that anymore, but I think he’s probably been humbled and he’s probably been working to get better. If he finds the right situation, he can be a starter again. For sure.” Another scout echoed, “There isn’t a quarterback in this draft as talented as RGIII. They’re all developmental guys that will need to hold the clipboard for a few years. Griffin can play right away.”