Robert Griffin III doesn’t think it was a mistake to continue playing against the Seahawks in the Redskins’ first-round playoff game last January.
But if the same circumstances present themselves again in the future he would take himself out of the game.
That odd a somewhat contradictory viewpoint came from an excerpt from an ESPN The Magazine article that is coming out this week. Griffin is on the cover and author J.R. Moehringer wrote the 5,000-word cover story. Dan Steinberg at the Bog got the story and posted an excerpt pertaining to the decision to keep playing in that playoff game despite being visibly hampered after the tweaked his right knee during the first quarter.
The call to let him keep playing has led to heavy criticism of coach Mike Shanahan and the Redskins medical staff. He left the field with a knee that would need reconstructive surgery a few days later and the injury has his ability to play the entire season in question.
Moehringer asks him about the decision.
What about the Seahawks game? “I don’t feel like playing against the Seahawks was a mistake. But I see the mistake IN IT.”
“With what happened and how everything was running — you take me out. If that happened again next year, I’d come out of the game and sit until I was 100% healthy.”
So it appears that while Griffin is reluctant to say that he made a mistake, he would not do the same thing if the same scenario presented itself. And that, ultimately, is what matters.
Griffin also talked about the injury that was the nexus of the problems in the Seattle game, a hit downfield by Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata late in a Week 14 game at FedEx Field. Griffin tried to continue in the game but yielded to Kirk Cousins after a few plays. That forced him to miss the next game and put him in a heavy knee brace for the rest of the season. Griffin said that the warrior instinct in him came out, making him want to continue.
He acknowledges that he needs to work on moderating that instinct. “If I had another incident like the Ngata hit, I’m out of the game. You pull yourself out at that point. You learn from your mistakes.”
That last line is key. Whether or not he wants to call something a mistake is irrelevant as long as he does the smart thing in the future. We will have to take him at his word that he will be more cautious in the future.