Five months removed from a knee injury that made the heart of every fan in the greater Washington D.C.-area skip a beat, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III seems nothing but confident.
The 23-year-old NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year suffered a torn ACL and lateral collateral ligament in Washington’s 24-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card game in January, and according to reports he’s made an incredible recovery from surgery and isn’t concerned with a backslide.
“I just don’t worry about the setbacks, I just worry about the progress I’m making moving forward,” Griffin said to Pro Football Talk. “I don’t think it’s gonna come, but if it does come you just roll with it.”
Griffin’s surgeon, the famous orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, even said back in February his patient’s rehabilitation is “ahead of schedule.” But he did warn that he was not endorsing Griffin’s absolute return to the Redskins lineup in Week One of the 2013 season.
When Washington drafted him No. 2 overall, the team essentially placed an all-in bet on Griffin’s talent. And after fielding numerous questions as to whether head coach Mike Shanahan should have pulled Griffin earlier against Seattle, the Redskins will not rush him back.
Dubbed a diligent, even obsessive player from his years at Baylor, Griffin is taking his rehab seriously and even spoke to maybe the greatest return-from-ACL-injury success story in sports history, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson. After blowing out his knee at the end of the 2011 season, Peterson came back in Week One last season, and nearly broke the single-season rushing record with 2,097 yards, and won the NFL MVP award.
Last month, Griffin told the Washington Post he sought Peterson’s advice, even though he's torn an ACL before.
“I’m not all-knowing about the injury so I listen to guys,” Griffin said to the Post. “You know, Adrian said what everyone else said. I’m not Adrian. Adrian’s not me. Everybody’s body heals a little bit differently.”
Rehab isn’t the only subject Griffin has tried to tackle this offseason. In April he took to Twitter, and seemingly wrote veiled tweets regarding the growing heat Washington is taking for a logo and team name that many believe is racist and disrespectful to Native Americans.
Griffin tweeted: "In a land of freedom we are held hostage by the tyranny of political correctness" and "Tyranny- 'a condition imposed by some outside agency or force".
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was also quoted that he would “NEVER” change his club’s name.
And Wednesday it was revealed that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shares both Griffin and Snyder’s sentiments. A letter Goodell wrote to 10 members of Congress defends the Redskins name, and the team’s heritage.
"The Washington Redskins name has ... from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context," Goodell wrote according to CBS News. "For the team's millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America's most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."