III was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year for his level of play last season. (Richard Lipski, AP)
After a vicious hit from Baltimore's Haloti Ngata last season caused his knee to hyperextend, Robert Griffin III sat out the Redskins' Week 15 win over Cleveland. And now, RGIII says that he probably should have been pulled from Washington's playoff loss to Seattle prior to the play that resulted in more serious knee injury, too.
As part of a cover story in the latest ESPN the Magazine, Griffin told J.R. Moehringer, per the Washington Post: "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."
More from Griffin:
"Your survivor instinct kicks in," Griffin says. "You’re like, 'I’m a warrior. I’m a beast. I do all these things, I can push through adversity.'"
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."
What about the Seahawks game?
"I don’t feel like playing against the Seahawks was a mistake. But I see the mistake IN IT."
This is not the first time that Griffin has implied that he should have been on the sidelines late in that Seattle game -- in March, he told ESPN's Trey Wingo, "I know where my responsibility is within the dilemma that led to me having surgery to repair my knee and all parties involved know their responsibilities as well" -- but it's the most explicit he has been about the situation.
His comments also again seem to imply that Washington coach Mike Shanahan deserves at least some of the blame here. Not only was Griffin limping badly prior to the fateful fumble, but also the FedEx Field turf was disintegrating rapidly; Seattle's Chris Clemons also suffered a knee injury in the game, and his agent later blamed the field conditions.
Griffin tore both the ACL and LCL in his right knee when his leg bent awkwardly as he attempted to recover a fumbled snap against the Seahawks. The Redskins' superstar had been laboring through the wild-card round game to that point, just as he had in Weeks 16 and 17 against Philadelphia and Dallas, respectively.
The Redskins trailed 17-14 at that point, en route to a 24-14 loss. Kirk Cousins, who pulled off that regular-season victory over the Browns in Griffin's absence, finished off the game.
Griffin also tore the ACL in his right knee while playing QB for Baylor in 2009. Emphasizing that "survivor instinct" he spoke about, Griffin actually convinced his coaches to let him return to the game and he finished the first half before being shut down for the season.
All indications are that Griffin's healing remarkably well this offseason -- at the Redskins' draft party last weekend, he did jumping jacks on stage for a thrilled crowd. Griffin still hopes to play in his team's 2013 season opener, Sept. 9 vs. Philadelphia. However, Shanahan and his staff may take extra precaution this time around with the franchise's centerpiece.
Perhaps Griffin's remarks to ESPN the Magazine will draw some attention away from a series of tweets he posted this week, the first reading that "In a land of freedom we are held hostage by the tyranny of political correctness." Griffin reportedly was responding
to critics of the "Redskins" team name -- that moniker has come under fire repeatedly as being insensitive to Native Americans.