SportsTalk Live: Who has the final say for RG3?
Yesterday we finally got clarity on exactly what would have to happen for Robert Griffin III to be cleared to play in the Redskins’ season opener 18 days from today.
We have known all along who the main decision makers will be. “That’s Coach and Doc,” said Griffin when asked who would make the call. “I don’t have any say in that.”
“Coach” is Mike Shanahan and “Doc” is Dr. James Andrews. But there has been some confusion over exactly who has the “final” say. There was a rumor over the weekend that Shanahan would override a recommendation by Andrews that Griffin sit out the first four games of the season and wait until after the Redskins’ bye week to play him.
That report was quickly shot down my multiple sources and by Shanahan himself after the preseason game against the Steelers on Monday night. “If Dr. Andrews felt that his knee wasn’t ready, we surely wouldn’t play him,”’ said Shanahan.
That part makes sense, given that Shanahan has proceeded cautiously throughout Griffin’s rehab. So it’s clear that Andrews has veto power over Griffin returning to the field.
But does Andrews have “final say” on whether or not Griffin returns? If he clears Griffin, would the quarterback play regardless of any reservations that Shanahan might have?
Shanahan has been asked that question in various forms a few times since the start of training camp and every time he either didn’t understand the question or didn’t want to answer it.
But yesterday Shanahan finally gave a clear and unequivocal answer. “Dr. Andrews could tell me that he is ready, and if I thought something was wrong with Robert through our practice, I wouldn’t put him out there,” he said.
So here is the simple breakdown of the RG3 approval process with Andrews and Shanahan—there must unanimous “go” for Griffin to take the field. If either coach or doctor says yes and the other says no, Griffin sits until that unanimous consent is reached.
A decision to clear Griffin for a return to play could come as early as a week from today. Andrews will observe the quarterback during pregame warmups and then will do a hands-on examination of the knee. Griffin could get the doctor’s clearance to play at that time. If that happens, it may take a few more days for Shanahan to make the final call.