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Teammates Empathize With Robert Griffin III’s Desire To Play Through Injury

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Several of Robert Griffin III’s teammates with the Washington Redskins continued to defend the decision to allow the rookie quarterback to play Sunday in the wild card round of the NFC playoffs after aggravating his previously injured right knee.

Griffin III

Griffin injured the knee, which he originally sprained Dec. 9 against Baltimore, in the first quarter of the 24-14 loss to Seattle. He was extremely limited for much of the rest of the game and exhibited difficulty running and throwing, and finally left midway through the fourth quarter after the knee twisted beneath him while he tried to recover a low snap.

He underwent an MRI examination after the game Sunday, but the results have not yet been publicly released by the team.

“I feel like in Robert’s situation, man, he’s our quarterback,” receiver Santana Moss said. “He’s our starting quarterback. If he can go at 60 percent, he’s better than half of the guys out there. That’s how I look at it. He could barely run the last what, three weeks? Four weeks? He’s still hard to catch.”

Washington gained 129 yards in the first quarter against the Seahawks, all but four of which came before Griffin’s first injury, and gained just 74 afterwards.

Several plays demonstrated the quarterback’s limited range. He made an awkward cross-body throw on third-and-2 with 10:02 left in the second quarter instead of running forward for what should have been an easy first-down conversion. On the next drive, he underthrew a deep ball to Pierre Garçon that was intercepted by Seattle safety Earl Thomas.

And in the fourth quarter, in an attempt to show he could still run, he struggled even to limp to the left sideline and get out of bounds, somehow gaining nine yards.

“He’s a competitor,” quarterback Rex Grossman said. I find it hard to believe that it’s going to be an issue [for him] at all.”

Griffin did not make an appearance in the Redskins’ locker room late Monday morning, but he responded to the growing criticism of the decision to let him play in the game on his Twitter account.

“Many may question, criticize [and] think they have all the right answers. But few have been in the line of fire in battle,” Griffin wrote.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall said he could relate to Griffin’s will to play because of a situation two years ago, when he begged head coach Mike Shanahan to let him play against Indianapolis despite missing practice all week with a back injury.

Hall ended up allowing a 57-yard touchdown pass to Garçon, then with the Colts, in the first quarter.

“You always want to be out there,” Hall said. “That’s nothing against the guys behind you, but just that competitiveness in you. You always want to be out there. You want to compete. You want to be a part of it. Especially this run we’ve had, man – it would have been hard for that guy to say, ‘No, Coach, I can’t go. Pull me.’ It’s tough. Everything was going so special, man. He wanted to be a part of it.”

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