Ah, yes, the brace. Maybe it came from his wedding registry. Does James Andrews have a gift shop?
Whatever. In any case, Griffin was on the field. There was no real trace of a limp, although there was also no real trace of the Griffin of last year, either. It’s too soon for that. But the second-year quarterback was still large and in charge; even the music blasting over the loudspeakers came from his playlist. Rap, “some of my linemen wanted some country,” and some R&B “to keep them calm.”
Music critic Niles Paul ran over and turned off a particular song — and I’m sorry I can’t identify it, since it was from this century — to the cheers of his teammates, who apparently weren’t feeling it. So Griffin ran — ran! — over to cue up a different tune.
That wasn’t the only time he ran, of course. He also said he ran two miles at Redskins Park earlier in the week, without all the media scrutiny. Next month comes the focus on the explosive sprinting and explosive cutting. Stay tuned!
No leg has been more examined and discussed than Griffin’s, at least not since Angelina Jolie struck that pose at the Academy Awards last year. Bryce Harper’s knee should send RGIII’s knee a thank you note, just for absorbing some of Washington’s knee angst.
That knee angst isn’t knee-jerk, however. Two of Washington’s brightest stars — the hope for their respective franchises — are injured. Both have shown a complete disregard for their future health, not surprising in young men of 23 and 20. One has a manager who has at least tried to curb his enthusiasm; the other one has a coach who did not, at least not last season. According to Griffin, that reining in is happening now, with his rehab. The bottom line is, neither team can afford to lose its guy. Look at the Wizards and their knee issue — John Wall missed 33 games to start the season and the Wizards fell short of the playoffs. (On the other hand, they got the No. 3 pick in next month’s draft. Still. . .)
Griffin’s knee may not be at full strength, but his sense of humor is completely intact. “I would love to answer some questions about the team today,” he deadpanned at the start of Thursday’s news conference. Apparently all that wedding registry talk has gotten old.
And he was allowed to talk about actual football, about Pierre Garcon (loves him), Chris Thompson (loves him), his other receivers (loves ’em), Alfred Morris (loves him), London Fletcher (loves him). Asked what he has learned from last season, he said, “For me, the biggest part was mastering the offense so I can continue to beat teams with my mind.” That is just awesome — until he tears a brain muscle, I guess, and then we’re right back where we started.
Griffin is not universally liked — name an athlete who is — but it is hard not to enjoy listening to a guy who’s quick with a quip. Asked if he had gotten bigger in the offseason, Griffin said, “Are you calling me fat?” Uh, fat chance.
“I don’t think I’m bigger,” he said. “I think it’s Spandex. It’s definitely the (skin-tight) shirt. . . . Around this time you do put a little bit more muscle, then you maintain the weight throughout the year. That’s why my pecs look amazing.”
At this point a team official realized that those amazing pecs — for the humor impaired, he was being sarcastic — were clad in an Adidas shirt, not the league-approved Nike apparel. Wardrobe malfunction! Folding over the collar didn’t work, so Griffin will have to pony up the fine. Likely Adidas won’t mind writing that check. Think of it as an early wedding present.
Charm aside, we’re a long way from knowing what that knee can actually do. One assumes it can get him down the aisle, but can it support him when he drops back in the pocket or takes off on a bootleg? Griffin seems sure that it can. As for Redskins fans, they are going to have to take a cue from their quarterback. “I’ve had to be patiently aggressive,” he said. Everyone else is going to have to be merely patient.