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Robert Griffin III Deactivation for Rest of 2013 Season is Right Call

The Washington Redskins announced on Wednesday that star quarterback Robert Griffin III will not play for the rest of the season.

Robert Griffin III Deactivation for Rest of 2013 Season is Right Call
Sitting Robert Griffin III down for the rest of the regular season is simply a smart football move. Photo courtesy Keith Allison via Creative Commons license.

For fantasy league aficionados who have Robert Griffin III on their teams, they received some bad news on Wednesday.

But for Washington Redskins fans who want a healthy team for the future, the news may not have been so startling.

On Wednesday, it was announced by Redskins coach Mike Shanahan that Griffin will be sidelined for the rest of the 2013 season. He will be replaced by backup quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Rumors have swirled in recent days about Shanahan’s future as coach of the Redskins. Last week, it was revealed that Shanahan nearly quit at the end of last season, largely because he was fed up with the apparent favoritism that Redskins owner Dan Snyder was displaying toward Griffin.

Shanahan decided to stay after Griffin got hurt last year, not wanting to leave for fear of public backlash.

Now, in light of the fact that the Redskins are 3-10 and that Griffin has suffered through a sub-par season following his return from a knee injury, on top of last week’s revelation, Shanahan could well be playing out the string.

There were reports on Wednesday that he specifically deactivated Griffin for the rest of the season to hasten his ouster by Snyder. But Shanahan denied that had anything to do with his decision.

"The best thing to do is give him an opportunity to go into that third year injury free to get a chance to get better in the offseason," Shanahan said. "I know that will be the difference in him being 100 percent healthy and him going to the offseason being the leader. I think it would set him back so much if he missed another offseason, which could happen. I didn't think the risk-reward was worth it.

"When you take a look at a quarterback who is your franchise quarterback, he's your future. If you miss two offseasons in a row it'd be the hardest thing to recover from."

Griffin, who appeared at the news conference with Shanahan, was not on board with the decision, but said he’ll accept his fate and do what he can to help the team for the rest of the season.

"Coach's decision is what we go with," Griffin said. "That's the way it's always been, so I have to do that. I have to sit here and do whatever I can to help Kirk, do whatever I can to help this team win. In times like these you just have to lean on what you've been taught in life and my parents, being military parents, have taught me to respect authority, and I have to respect what Coach says."

So, was Shanahan’s decision motivated by outside factors? Or did he make a decision that helps to preserve Griffin’s health?

Bottom is the fact that the Redskins simply have nothing to play for this season. Keeping Griffin in the starting lineup when he’s still not 100 percent healthy simply doesn’t make sense.

Griffin ran for 815 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. This year, he’s run for 489 yards with no touchdowns, and the explosiveness that he displayed last season simply never showed up this year. In addition, he’s been sacked 38 times in 13 games after being taken down just 30 times in 15 games last year. Griffin has gotten beaten up in recent games as well.

Thinking that Griffin was sat down so that Shanahan could have leverage in possibly getting fired may look juicy in the press, but in reality, Shanahan made a decision that will end up helping Griffin in the long run.

There’s no controversy here, just a smart football decision.

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