Sunday afternoon’s showdown between the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks could have ended in only one of two ways. Either Robert Griffin III would emerge as the epic hero who overcame a brutal injury to lead his team to victory, or Mike Shanahan would be the dope who played his clearly hobbled quarterback when he had a perfectly solid backup ready to go.
We ended getting what was behind door No. 2.
The Redskins fell 24-14, and on Monday morning, Shanahan stepped into the role previously filled by Rob Parker as the man who tried to hurt the most beloved young football star the world has ever seen. (Seriously, does anyone not like RGIII?) Whereas the damage Parker did was strictly emotional, what Shanahan did could ultimately end up having serious ramifications on Griffin’s career.
In the fourth quarter of yesterday's outing, with the game still in reach, Griffin immobility caused him to suffer another leg injury. It remains to be seen how serious it is but, on TV at least, it looked pretty bad.
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Afterward, Shanahan justified his decision to play Griffin by saying this (via CBS):
"He said, `Hey, trust me. I want to be in there, and I deserve to be in there. I couldn't disagree with him."
Of course, seeing as the Redskins coach appears to have previously lied about Griffin’s health earlier in the year, his statement was taken with a grain of salt.
The question now is: what happens next? Will Shanahan’s repeated disregard for what the Redskins see as a long-term investment get him canned? Or will the team’s success this year save him, despite the flurry of criticism heading his way this morning?
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We’ll find out soon enough.