Robert Griffin III receives clearance to return to practice field
WASHINGTON — Taking another step toward achieving his “All in for Week 1” goal, quarterback Robert Griffin III received clearance Monday to practice when the Washington Redskins open training camp Thursday.
Less than seven months since doctors repaired the right knee ligaments he tore in a playoff loss to Seattle, Griffin passed three extensive tests to receive the green light to practice, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Griffin announced the news via Twitter when shortly after his final workout, he wrote, “Doctors cleared me to practice. Coach is going to ease me in. Thank you for your support & See you in Richmond.”
The plan is for Griffin to open camp as a participant in any positional and seven-on-seven drills. However, the team will hold him out of any 11-on-11 portions of practice initially, and it remains unclear how quickly Griffin will progress to full participation in practices.
Thursday will mark the first time since his injury that Griffin will be permitted to take part in an official practice session. During the spring and summer, Kirk Cousins served as first-team quarterback, while Griffin threw passes to fellow rehabbing teammates such as wide receiver Pierre Garcon and tight end Fred Davis.
Griffin said late in the spring that he believed he could return to full capacity by the start of training camp — an even earlier target date than the regular season opener Sept. 9, when Washington hosts the Philadelphia Eagles. In mid-February, Adidas released a commercial in which Griffin proclaimed his intention of returning from the knee surgery by Week 1. It would mark the second such comeback of Griffin’s career. In 2009, as a sophomore at Baylor, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee. He recovered and put himself on the national map the following season, and then won the Heisman Trophy in 2011 before being picked second overall in the 2012 NFL draft.
Throughout this offseason, Coach Mike Shanahan, James Andrews (the orthopedist who performed the surgery and subsequent examinations), teammates and family members have relayed glowing reports of Griffin’s progress.
But as team’s offseason practices wrapped up in the second week of June, Shanahan stressed caution and said that, despite Griffin’s optimism, the decision on the timing of his return rested with Andrews.
Griffin met periodically throughout the offseason with Andrews, and he did so again early in July. The doctor was expected to examine Griffin on Wednesday — the eve of training camp — and then make a decision, but he instead evaluated Griffin in back-to-back workouts late last week. He recommended the Redskins clear Griffin to practice, said a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak for the team.
Wanting to exercise additional caution, Shanahan opted to wait another couple of days. On Monday, he put Griffin through his own workout, which featured a series of quarterback-specific drills, the person said. Pleased with Griffin’s execution, Shanahan granted clearance and told the quarterback he planned to bring him along gradually.
Griffin avoided opening training camp on the physically unable to perform list, which would have kept him on the side during practices and on the side until medical personnel deemed his knee strong enough.
Now, however, the quarterback can begin to rekindle his chemistry and timing with his receivers, tight ends and running backs right away. It remains to be seen how much Griffin will play during the preseason. Washington’s first preseason game will take place Aug. 8 against the Tennessee Titans.
The Redskins declined to comment on Griffin’s announcement, saying that Shanahan will address reporters Thursday in Richmond, Va. Griffin is scheduled to address media members there Wednesday.