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Robert Griffin III Returns To Practice Wednesday After Concussion
(Originally posted 10/10/12, 3:07 p.m.; Updated 10/10/12, 7:44 p.m.)
ASHBURN – For months, Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins have described everything the quarterback does during his rookie season as a learning experience. Each game will offer him an understanding of professional football; his coaches and teammates will become increasingly familiar with his ability.
On Wednesday, three days after Griffin sustained a concussion while scrambling against Atlanta, one of the more important lessons of the quarterback’s brief career was under review. The quarterback took off out of the pocket as a play broke down, and coaches and teammates turned a keen eye to see what he would do.
“I ran out of bounds today at practice and I imitated a slide,” Griffin said. “I got a huge cheer from the team.”
Officially limited to non-contact work in the two-hour practice – by nature of the Redskins’ practice, all quarterbacks are exempt from contact, making it an otherwise ordinary day for Griffin – the rookie return to the field without showing any lingering effects associated with a concussion.
He, and head coach Mike Shanahan, have each said Griffin has passed each and every test given to him, and barring any nausea, headaches or dizziness during the remainder of the week, the quarterback will be able to play for the Redskins on Sunday against Minnesota.
“So far, so good,” Shanahan said.
Griffin downplayed the nature of the concussion, referring it on a couple occasions as a “temporary memory loss.” He did admit that it took him roughly 15 minutes after the hit, which came with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, to fully collect his thoughts and understand everything going on around him.
By that time, he wanted to return to the game, which would have been near the start of the fourth quarter. League protocol mandates that a player who has left a game with concussion-like symptoms is not allowed to leave the locker room, and so Griffin, reluctantly, took off his uniform, took a shower and watched the rest of the Redskins’ loss from afar.
“I had great balance,” Griffin said. “I could remember everything. I pretty much put myself through that concussion test and I knew that I was OK.”
The concussion was the second Griffin has experienced in under a year, as he was knocked out of Baylor’s game against Texas Tech on a similar play late in the second quarter. That experience has helped guide him through the effects of this one, right down to the preparation.
He didn’t miss any time last year; in fact, Griffin returned for Baylor’s game against Texas, the last of the regular season, and helped the Bears to their first nine-win season in 25 years.
Returning for this one will be different. Griffin will continue to be examined all week – he spent nearly 10 minutes after walking off the practice field Wednesday going through standard testing – before he’s fully cleared to play.
Shanahan wouldn’t divulge exactly how much Griffin practiced, only that it was a “significant amount.” He also declined to share how often Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman rotated in with the starters.
The delay in giving full medical clearance has given Griffin perspective regarding his health. He’s taken plenty of hits this season – nearly 70 through five games – and the play in which he sustained the concussion was an example of one he shouldn’t have tried to make.
“My brain, my head, my future outside of football, my life is more important than trying to get that touchdown on third-and-[goal],” Griffin said. “What happens to me affects a lot of people. You’ve just got to take that approach and know that hey, if I run out of bounds, just run out of bounds. If I can slide, just slide. But, if you can make a play, go make that play, because things like that don’t happen all the time.”
Only a half-inch gash on the right side of Griffin’s chin, which required four stitches to close, remains as evidence of the hit. He’s also been understanding regarding the treatment the team’s medical personnel has provided, no matter how repetitive it has been.
“The only symptom that I do have is irritability, because they keep asking me the same questions,” Griffin said. “But other than that, they’re doing their job, and I respect them for it.”