NFL roundup: Andrews backtracks on Griffin; Seahawks-Redskins draws big ratings

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

While the debate over Robert Griffin III's injuries continued Tuesday, his abbreviated performance against the Seattle Seahawks was ratings winner.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews told the Washington Post that Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan did not fabricate a sideline conversation the two had about deciding whether to allow the injured quarterback to re-enter a game on Dec 9.
Griffin injured his right knee late in the Redskins' game against the Baltimore Ravens. After coming off the field for one play, Griffin went back in for four snaps before exiting the game for good. Backup Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin and led Washington to an overtime victory.
The next day, it was discovered that Griffin had a sprained lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Shanahan said he consulted Andrews -- and that Andrews examined Griffin -- on whether to allow Griffin to re-enter the game.
Andrews said in a USA Today report Sunday that he did not clear Griffin to go back into the game and that he did not even get the chance to examine him.
"Coach Shanahan didn't lie about it, and I didn't lie," Andrews said. "I didn't get to examine (Griffin's knee) because he came out for one play, didn't let us look at him and on the next play, he ran through all the players and back out onto the field. Coach Shanahan looks at me like, 'Is he OK?' and I give him the (signal) as in, 'He's running around, so I guess he's OK.' But I didn't get to check him out until after the game. It was just a communication problem."
Griffin missed one game before returning Dec. 23. He wore a knee brace the rest of the season. He re-injured the knee in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to Seattle and finally came out of the game with 6:19 left in the fourth quarter.
ESPN reported Griffin will have surgery the LCL this week that will allow doctors to determine the extent of the ACL damage.
In the ratings game, Fox Sports announced Sunday's NFC wild-card playoff between the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins was the most watched program on any network since NBC's Olympics coverage on July 31 of last year. The game had a 21.5 rating and 36 share with 38.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
In other TV news related to Griffin, ESPN announced that it fired commentator Rob Parker, who was on suspension for comments he made last month about the Redskins quarterback.
During an airing of the network's "First Take" show on Dec. 13, Parker (who is African American) questioned Griffin's "blackness" and called him a "cornball brother" because he has a white fiancee.

--New York Jets coach Rex Ryan announced in his first postseason press conference that offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was fired and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is leaving the team.
Sparano was let go after just one season. The move comes on the heels of quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh being told that his contract will not be renewed when it expires in a few weeks. New York finished 30th in the NFL in total offense, 30th in passing and 28th in points per game.
Pettine was interviewing with the AFC East division rival Buffalo Bills on Tuesday.
Secondary coach Dennis Thurman will reportedly take over as coordinator. The Jets did not allowed Thurman to interview for the Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator position last season. And assistant special teams coach Ben Kotwica will replace retiring special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff.
Also, Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas applied for admission into a special probation program to resolve charges of assaulting his wife and possessing painkillers and marijuana paraphernalia, the Daily Record of New Jersey.

--The Philadelphia Eagles will interview Lovie Smith for their head coaching job on Thursday.
Smith, 54, was fired by the Chicago Bears last week. The Bears finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs.
He coached the Bears from 2004-12. He had an 81-63 record, including three NFC North division championships and a Super Bowl appearance in the 2006 season.

--The Arizona Cardinals announced that they promoted Steve Keim to general manager.
Keim, who has been with the Cardinals since 1999, was vice president of player personnel. He replaces Rod Graves, who was fired last week.
Arizona is still searching for a new coach since firing Ken Whisenhunt last week.

--Injured Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee returned to practice on Tuesday wearing a non-contact black jersey, according to the Denver Post.
It was the first day McGahee was eligible to practice since being placed on the team's injured reserve/designated-to-return list with a torn medial collateral ligament and leg fracture. He sustained the injuries in a Week 11 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

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