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RG3 Is On His Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony

Shooting stars, comets, Studio 54, Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur, torrential downpours, earthquakes, Bo Jackson, Sandy Koufax and RG3.

Shooting stars, comets, Studio 54, Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur, torrential downpours, earthquakes, Bo Jackson, Sandy Koufax and RG3.

A list of nouns describing people, places and things that blaze into our lives, awe us, inspire us, captivate us, shock us, intrigues, disrupts us even, and then fades away; leaving us with a sense of loss and an unquenchable thirst for an encore that’s never coming.

 

 

Slow and steady wins the race is the motto Redskins QB Kirk Cousins lives by. In a perfect world, Robert Griffin III would have been the QB throwing for 427 yards in a Week 3, 37-34 loss to the first-place Eagles (3-0) .

Cousins was a footnote in the Redskins story book 2012 drafting of RG3. The former Michigan State QB was stolen in the fourth-round of the same draft and after RG3’s legendary, inaugural season most thought Cousins would either remain a backup or move elsewhere for an opportunity to start.


Who knew that RG3’s injury-prone history and Cousins’ ability to take advantage of opportunities would lead us to our current situations where the afterthought (Cousins) is shining and being considered for long-term employment as the shooting star (RG3) dims quickly and drifts further away from that walking American idol swag he flossed just two seasons ago.


In a September 2013 piece entitled, “What About Bob?” The Shadow League warned of the slippery slope RG3 was on and the quick stardom and injuries that turn young titans into yesterday’s turnips. He was coming off another major knee surgery. What if he wasn’t the same dude?

By December of his rookie season, RG3 had already sold more jerseys than any player in a single season since the league started tracking the numbers six years ago. The previous record holder was Brett Favre with the New York Jets (2008) and Minnesota Vikings (2009). 

In many ways, he’s a victim of his generation, like other “flawed” superstars.Joe Namath dabbled in womanizing. Mickey Mantle was a drunk. RG3 is addicted to the limelight. He even allowed cameras at his rehab sessions, and everybody knows that’s the opposite of self-deprecation, which is usually the key to avoiding haters . ESPN’s Jason Whitlock said Griffin “wants to be a Kardashian.”


Athletes like Bo Jackson and Penny Hardaway shined instantly, but their brief careers are remembered by fans as camera snapshots rather than vivid movies.

Who really wants that from RG3? Longevity’s achieved by promoting and preserving your brand…


How will the public perceive Griffin III, if he doesn’t instantly return to superhuman form tonight in his matchup against O.G. Mike Vick ? They don’t want excuses they want an uncompromised, full-throttle version of RGIII, and eventually public sentiment will shift if his game slips.

At this rate, for RGIII to avoid becoming “old news,” he’ll have to continue to be the healthy centerpiece of major marketing campaigns, catch wreck and win a lot of games. 

He hasn't done that, so consequently Cousins is new money.

In 2013, there was some controversy over whether Griffin would be ready for the season opener and a healthy media parade, the game-changing QB debuted in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. His lukewarm sophomore season wasn’t the worst case scenario for fans because at least RG3 was on the field. But it was obvious he lost a step as he failed to match his electrifying 2012 effort. He was particularly rusty during the first half of 2013 before having a breakout game in Week 7 game against the Chi-Town Bears. In a 45-41 Redskins win, Griffin recorded 298 passing yards and two touchdowns. The Redskins' 27-6 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12 was the first game in Griffin's collegiate and professional career where he failed to score a single offensive touchdown.

Still high off RG3’s arrival and refusing to believe that the injuries, media hawking, celebrity cycle and saga of second guessing within the Redskins organization had gotten the best of him, many prognosticators picked Washington to contend for a Super Bowl last season. Instead, on December 11, Mike Shanahan deactivated Griffin for the last three games of the season, promoting Kirk Cousins to starter. It was his last mercy move, as an NFL HC. He claimed that it was done in order to eliminate risk of further injury, but more than anything it was a sign of the Redskins throwing in the towel on a dismal 3-13 campaign.



At first, most people blamed Shanahan for mishandling RG3. They say he should have never let the braided bomber back in that January playoff game against Seattle in 2013, in which he further wrecked his knee. Then the fans impatience and obsession with the “old” RG3 led to a fractured relationship with the new, less dynamic, Robert Griffin III. Particularly as the young gunner switched from a confident, head-honcho who accepted the best and worst of being King, to a temperamental superstar, succumbing to the pressure and frustration and placing the blame on others. His distinct dopeness turned into desperate defiance at times, as TSL noted in an October 2013 article, “Nobody Tells RG3 How To Play His Game.”


The worst possibilities have manifested in reality for Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III. It’s a reality that seems galaxies away from last season when he was Jesus with a wing, walking on water, while captivating the NFL community and transcending athletics with iconic flavor. Last season, his jersey sales measured true popularity, setting a record in that department . But this season, he trails Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. It’s a true sign of the times.

RG3’s Redskins aren’t assed-out like the 0-6 NY Giants. But the bottom line is that D.C.’s Chocolate Prince isn’t coming with royal performances. And Washington’s 1-4 record does little for one’s Super Bowl libido. For months, while he rehabbed yet another foul knee injury, rumors swirled and naysayers insisted that fans must face the possibility that he might be a compromised player when he returns – or at least not as sharp in the first few weeks. And at this point, both seem accurate.

Despite, a growing contingent of Redskins fans clamoring for Cousins to take the reins, this season was supposed to be a reset for RG3. He had his health, the full confidence of new HC Jay Gruden, his pocket passing seemed to be improving and Redskins Nation insisted he was a better decision maker. Last season’s collapse became an afterthought and the media division of RG3 Nation started talking that “Redskins to the c’hip” stuff again. I mean, who can blame them? It’s a story that everybody wants to work.

 

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When RG3 stormed the scene is 2012, sports heads were throwing around terms like “most transformative athlete in NFL history”, “Chocolate City Savior”, “Mike Vick 2.0” and “Young Future of the Game.”


The entire league basically shifted its offense to a spread formation and developed this newfound appreciation for athletic QBs with rifles who can move in space and create magic.

Three games into the promising 2014 season, RG3 finds himself on the shelf again. And if his past setbacks were tests of his resolve, the sobering reality of another lost season has him at a crossroads in a career that has seen a decade’s worth of twists and turns in a mere 30 games.

Robert Griffin III was carted off the field after dislocating his ankle in the first quarter of last Sunday's Week 2 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. As Griffin was being taken to the locker room, his face said it all — he was in tears from the pain.

He got injured again doing what he does best; being dynamic. Griffin was injured while falling hard out of bounds. He was running away from a defender, leaped and jacked up his ankle landing awkwardly after completing a 19-yard pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. What followed was that old familiar scene of him lying face down on the ground before he needed to be help off the sidelines.


RG3 and Kirk Cousins is like the difference between smoking bush weed and exotics. When your connect gets you that Cuckoo Kush, there’s no high like it. However, she’s only in town periodically and your habit still has to be satisfied so you settle for a more consistent and reliable hustler that always has a stash of Regs on hand. You miss the Kush but begin to establish a respect and familiarity with the Regs guy because he’s always going to be there.


According to AP Reports the Washington Redskins are optimistic that Robert Griffin III will return this season. Less clear is how much more Griffin can take before the "injury-prone" label supersedes anything else he accomplishes in his NFL career.

An MRI exam on Monday revealed that Griffin doesn't have any broken bones to go along with his dislocated left ankle, which means he doesn't need season-ending surgery and could theoretically return in a couple of months if all goes well with his rehab. Kirk Cousins will be the starting quarterback in the meantime and if Washington is in playoff shape upon RG3’s return to health, the city and team will surely be divided on the two QBs.

"This game, we only get to play it for such a short period of time," Redskins safety Ryan Clark said, "so, for me, it's more just being sad for Rob. The football part of it goes on. The game? The NFL ain't never missed a play. They're going to keep playing no matter who's in those jerseys."

It was all good just a year ago. No one could imagine the Redskins without RG3 behind center executing the unfathomable. But like Clark said, the show don’t stop for one dancer. Especially one with janky legs whose making it increasing clear that the only thing he can guarantee fans is that he will eventually be sideline pining.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The Deputy Editor and Senior Writer is in his 23rd year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, magazines and national TV.

His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.