WASHINGTON — If Adrian Peterson can do it, maybe Robert Griffin III can, too.
Peterson set an incredible standard this season for NFL players returning from major knee surgery, nearly breaking the NFL single-season rushing record. Griffin need look nowhere else for an inspiration as the Washington Redskins quarterback begins the road back from an operation Wednesday on two ligaments in his right knee.
“I think it gives motivation to everyone,” said Russ Paine, a physical therapist in Houston who worked with the Peterson as the Minnesota Vikings running back went through rehab.
Griffin had his lateral collateral ligament repaired and his ACL reconstructed for a second time. The surgery was performed in Florida by orthopedist James Andrews, who was optimistic that Griffin would be back on the field this fall.
“We expect a full recovery, and it is everybody’s hope and belief that due to Robert’s high motivation, he will be ready for the 2013 season,” Andrews said in a statement released by the Redskins. “The goal of his treatment is to give him the best opportunity for a long professional career.”
But no two athletes — or knee surgeries, for that matter — are exactly alike, so pinning down a date for Griffin’s return is an inexact science. Complicating matters is that Griffin tore the ACL in the same knee in 2009 while playing for Baylor.
University of Maryland head team physician Craig Bennett said football players typically need seven to 11 months to return from a second ACL reconstruction but that it often takes up to a year for the ligament to be fully healed.
“Typically your first season back from an ACL reconstruction, there’s a tendency to have some struggles from time to time,” Bennett said.
Seattle signs Longwell, Chukwurah
RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks have signed veteran kicker Ryan Longwell and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah after placing Steven Hauschka and Chris Clemons on injured reserve.
The moves by the Seahawks became official Wednesday morning. Neither Longwell nor Chukwurah have played in the NFL this season. Longwell last kicked for Minnesota during the 2011 season, when he made 22 of 28 attempts.
Chukwurah has not played in an NFL game since 2007 with Tampa Bay. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons in the UFL with the Florida Tuskers, where he led the league in sacks.
Payton signs five-year extension
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has signed a five-year contract extension that will run through the 2017 season.
The team Wednesday announced the extension but did not release details. Payton had agreed to the deal in principle Dec. 29.
Payton has guided the most successful period in the franchise’s history, leading the Saints to three NFC South division titles and four postseason appearances. Two of his teams advanced to the NFC championship game, and the 2009 squad won Super Bowl XLIV.
Payton, who was suspended for the entire 2012 season in connection with the NFL’s bounty investigation, can return to work Feb. 4, the day after the Super Bowl.
Agent says Arians out of hospital
INDIANAPOLIS — The agent for Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Wednesday night that his client has been released from an Indianapolis hospital and that they are finalizing details to begin interviewing for head coaching jobs.
Earlier in the day, a league source familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that doctors were still trying to determine the extent of a health problem that forced one interview to be pushed back.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because details of Arians’ illness have not been made public by the team.
Mike Brown, Arians’ agent, denied there had been any change to Arians’ schedule.
Arians, a 60-year-old prostate cancer survivor, has been complaining of dizziness and migraine headaches, conditions doctors believe is related to an inner-ear infection, the person told the AP.
Five NFL teams are looking for head coaches. The Colts have given at least three teams permission to speak with Arians: the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.
Source: Browns talk to Chudzinski
CLEVELAND — Rob Chudzinski might get a third shot at coaching the Browns. Maybe this time as the head man.
A person familiar with the meeting said Chudzinski, Carolina’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, interviewed Wednesday with the Browns. Chudzinski had two previous stints as an assistant with Cleveland, the team he rooted for as a kid growing up in Toledo, Ohio.
Chudzinski visited the team’s facility in Berea, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams are not confirming any interviews.
The 44-year-old Chudzinski has spent the past two seasons with the Panthers working with quarterback Cam Newton. Carolina finished fifth in total offense in 2011 and 12th last season under Chudzinski. He was Cleveland’s tight ends coach in 2004, but was fired along with the rest of Butch Davis’ staff. He returned to the club in 2007 as the offensive coordinator for Romeo Crennel.
Telesco becomes Chargers’ GM
SAN DIEGO — San Diego Chargers President Dean Spanos didn’t hesitate to reach outside the organization to hire Tom Telesco from the Indianapolis Colts to replace fired general manager A.J. Smith.
The 40-year-old Telesco, who was chosen over a field of candidates that included Jimmy Raye, the Chargers’ director of player personnel, becomes the youngest GM in team history. He was given a four-year contract.
Telesco spent the past 15 seasons with the Colts, most recently as vice president of football operations. He had a hand in the moves that helped the Colts go from 2-14 in 2011 to 11-5 a nd the playoffs this year, including taking quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick in April’s draft.