With a wink and a smile, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III answered one of this summer’s key questions with one declarative statement. Could the rehabbing Griffin be far enough along in his recovery from knee surgery to participate in training camp come late July?
“Without a doubt,” he told reporters after another successful session of Organized Team Activities.
The bold statement came shortly after another practice session in which Griffin was reportedly seen participating in short sprints, dropbacks from center in which he planted on his surgically repaired, and throwing to receivers. Griffin pointed to his increased participation in practice as the primary reason for his optimism.
“It’s just how I felt and how it’s progressed [that makes me confident],” Griffin said. “Over the last three weeks, you know, I’ve had a lot of progress and I feel a lot better. So, if you think – I think training camp’s a month, month-and-a-half away? Two months? – I feel really good about that and the start of the season is even farther than that. I feel good about that and that’s why I say ‘without a doubt’.”
But while Griffin’s press conference reflected one of confidence and enthusiasm regarding his return, head coach Mike Shanahan was far more measured when assessing the status of his quarterback for training camp.
“You always want somebody to have goals, that’s for sure. You want him to come back as soon as he is ready to go,” Shanahan said. ”But the doctors have got to OK him.
“From the beginning they have talked about the recovery time being anywhere from seven months to nine months. I think August 9 is seven months, and so we will just have to wait and see.”
The gung-ho mentality from Griffin has been consistently juxtaposed with Shanahan’s cautious optimism, a dynamic that will likely be a constant theme as Redskins training camp nears. Griffin’s new target date to be full-go is July 25th, the first day of camp, while Shanahan retorted that August 9th as the most optimistic date he could hope to expect his quarterback to return.
“I’ll do the same thing I do during the season, the same thing I’ve been doing for 40 years of coaching,” Shanahan continued. “I ask the doctors. They’re the best at what they do and they’re going to tell me if he’s ready to go and when he’s ready to go. And we’ll get a chance to evaluate him once they do clear him.”
All along, Griffin has said he hopes and expects to play in the Redskins season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9th. But given his recent progress, it seems “All in for Week 1″ — his catchphrase throughout his rehab and recovery — may no longer be satisfactory for the star quarterback.
“I think [training camp] is the right target if I’m healthy. I’ve talked to Coach. I’ve talked to the doctors. I’ve talked to [head trainer] Larry [Hess]. I’ve talked to everybody that’s close to me. If I am ready to go Week 1, then I play. If I’m not ready to go Week 1, then I can swallow pride and not play. It’s that simple.”
For full audio of Griffin and Shanahan’s comments, please click on the links below: