Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is getting antsy, even changing his hairstyle to some cornrows over the weekend to coincide with increased practice repetitions.
"New phase, new hair," he said at his Monday press conference.
But what Griffin wants most is to play, which probably got him in this mess with his knee in the first place.
He stayed in a playoff game against Seattle even though he was obviously hurt and vulnerable, with no thanks to coach Mike Shanahan, who refused to take him out. He tore his ACL and has now gone through about seven months of rehabilitation. The plan is for him to sit out the preseason as the team eases him back. That's probably the smart move, but Griffin wants to play in August.
"I want to play, let’s get that straight. I want to play in the preseason," Griffin said. "It’s a hard 'no' right now, it’s my job to make that a soft 'no' and maybe a 'yes.'"
The coaching staff likely isn't going to make the same mistake twice and give in to Griffin's competitive urges. But, Griffin doesn't have to agree with it.
"I can’t B.S. that answer, so, no, I don’t like it," Griffin said after a long laugh and pause. "There’s some part of it I do understand. I don’t understand all of it."
The rehabilitation process is going well. He took more reps during a Monday walkthrough. He's slated to go through 11-on-11 drills for the first time on Tuesday. Every step has been positive, and that's why Griffin wants to do more. He said the Redskins' plan for him is fixed, no matter if he is ahead of schedule, and that's the part of the plan he doesn't understand.
But he said Shanahan has given him his word, and while he didn't elaborate on that, he made it clear that it includes him being the starter for the season opener if he keeps progressing well.
"There’s no doubt I’m playing Week 1," Griffin said.
Don't expect the plan to be accelerated, especially after what happened against Seattle last season. Griffin said Shanahan has privately expressed regret to him for leaving him in.
"He’s expressed regret," Griffin said. "Everybody had a little error in what happened, in that situation. We addressed it, and we moved on."
So for now, Griffin will have to be happy with 11-on-11 work while driving coaches nuts to let him play in the third preseason game with the starters. After what happened last time Griffin was pushed too hard, it's best to assume he won't get his way this time.