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NFL roundup: Griffin overcomes snags, signs with Redskins

The SportsXchange

The Redskins signed No. 2 pick Robert Griffin III to a four-year deal worth $21.12 million and includes a signing bonus of $13.8 million.

Griffin and Carolina Panthers' linebacker Luke Kuechly, the ninth pick in the 2012 draft, were the lone top-10 picks to sign rookie deals as of Wednesday morning. Neither of the deals includes offset language, which is used in most contracts and lowers the payment a team owes in the event that player is cut and signs with a new team.

The Redskins own a fifth-year option worth, as is the case with all top-10 picks, the equivalent of the franchise player value at the position.

Griffin missed the first two days of rookie training camp waiting for his contract situation to be settled. The depth chart at quarterback needs no such manipulation.

Head coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin is the Redskins' starter and he anticipates that will be the case Sept. 9 when the regular season begins against the Saints.

Shanahan, who coached the Denver Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl titles in 1997 and 1998, believes that Robert Griffin III will take Washington back to the top of the NFL. He made the statement when the Redskins traded three first-round draft picks and a second-rounder to St. Louis on March 9 for the right to move up four spots to take Griffin second overall last month, wasted no time in naming him the Redskins' starter ahead of incumbent Rex Grossman and fellow rookie Kirk Cousins.

"He's the starter, period," Shanahan said after Griffin and his fellow rookies completed a a three-day minicamp at Redskins Park on May 6. "The reason we gave up what we gave up is he can do some things that I believe no has done."

Griffin, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner, fits the mold of the type of quarterback Shanahan has had success with. He worked with mobile Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway and Steve Young during 14 of his previous 27 NFL seasons.

"It's hard to find that guy who can throw the football (so well) and has Olympic-type speed," Shanahan said. "Robert does something that you can't teach. He can make plays when everything breaks down. The great quarterbacks that I've been around, the great quarterbacks that have won Super Bowls (can do that). I really believe (Robert) can make any throw. ... And with his speed, he can get on the edge and do things that most quarterbacks can't do. We're going to adjust our system to what he feels comfortable with. We'll watch him grow."

Shanahan said that Griffin is already growing so comfortable with the offense that coordinator Kyle Shanahan spent six hours teaching him before minicamp. Then the Redskins didn't have a busted play call -- and only one ball hit the ground -- in the five-day minicamp.

Griffin wasn't signed but did organize a multi-day throwing session with several of the team's receivers. His leadership qualities are a strength and even owner Dan Snyder views Griffin as the present and future face of the franchise.

Several teams plan to stay the course with offset language. The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones have always included the stipulation in contracts and don't plan to buckle in negotiations with sixth overall pick Morris Claiborne even if that's the case with other teams.

The next players to sign could be Vikings offensive tackle Matt Kalil (fourth overall) and Browns running back Trent Richardson (third). They're represented by Creative Artists Agency, headed by Ben Dogra, as are No. 7 pick Mark Barron (Buccaneers) and 11th overall pick Dontari Poe (Chiefs).

---The Ravens are moving toward a contract extension with quarterback Joe Flacco, and the deal could even be finalized at or before the start of training camp next week.

NFL.com reported the two sides were closing in and estimated Flacco had a "75 percent chance" of signing his deal before the team reports to camp.

Flacco was a first-round pick in 2008 and has won at least one playoff game in each of his four NFL seasons. The Ravens lost in the AFC Championship game last season.

Signing running back Ray Rice to a $40 million deal last week cleared significant cap space for Baltimore to define parameters of a deal with Flacco. He's in the final year of his rookie contract which paid him a total of $12 million.

Yet Flacco maintained the contract wouldn't be an issue, expressing confidence in general manager Ozzie Newsome to get a new contract done. How quickly the sides come together might depend on how strongly Flacco feels about being paid as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He said in the offseason that he believes he's the best quarterback in the league.

Drew Brees signed a five-year, $100 million deal on Friday and Peyton Manning could make $96 million on a five-year contract signed with the Broncos in March.

---Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu admitted to ESPN Wednesday that he's lied about head injuries to stay in games.

"Yes, I have, for sure," Polamalu said on the Dan Patrick Show, noting that he's also chosen to stay in games against the medical staff's wishes.

Polamalu didn't tell any "major lies" when it comes to concussions, but said football players see a difference between a blow to the head that forces a player from a game and a lighter one that doctors see as a concussion.

"I've had, I believe, eight or nine recorded concussions. We'll have another conversation after I'm done playing football," Polamalu said on the show. "When you get your bell rung they consider that a concussion -- I wouldn't ... If that is considered a concussion, I'd say any football player at least records 50 to 100 concussions a year."

More than 2,400 retired NFL players are now plaintiffs in a lawsuit that accuses the NFL of hiding the knowledge that repeated concussions could lead to brain damage.

Still, Polamalu is the latest current player to admit a willingness to conceal a head injury. Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said in February that he too would lie about a concussion to stay on the field.

---Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been charged with driving under the influence, following a weekend arrest near his hometown of Oakland, according to a report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

He is scheduled to be arraigned next month.

The Seahawks didn't reply to a seattlepi.com request for comment on Wednesday, but a team spokesperson said Monday that the team was "aware of the situation with Marshawn and still gathering information."

Lynch was stopped at around 3:20 a.m. Saturday, after he was seen weaving between lanes on I-880 near Oakland, according to an California Highway Patrol incident report. His van nearly collided with two other vehicles on the highway, the report states.

When Lynch played for the Buffalo Bills, he received a three-game suspension from the NFL in 2009 after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in Culver City, Calif. The DUI could lead to another suspension by the league.
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