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For Robert Griffin III, Offseason Silence Is Golden

Nov 25, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) walks off the field after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. The 49ers won 27-6. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Chris HayreContributor IIJanuary 16, 2014

The moment Jay Gruden was announced as the new head coach of the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III was awarded a clean slate.

But instead of looking forward, RG3 then decided to update his Facebook status.

It wasn’t but 24 hours after Gruden was introduced to the D.C. media that Griffin took to his Facebook fan page to defend who he is, what he does and what happened in the past.

While it may be cathartic for a 23-year-old to speak his mind against the mean-spirited that stalk social media, the reality for Griffin is that changing people’s perception of him will never happen behind a keyboard or a smartphone. In fact, responding to any online criticism is usually the equivalent to dousing gasoline on an already raging fire.

It can’t be easy for a fierce competitor like Griffin to endure a 3-13 season and then watch fellow young guns like Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick all lead their teams to the postseason.  Those are the quarterbacks he’ll be compared to his whole career and right now—in a “what have you done for me lately?” league—they all have a leg up.

In 2012 there was no bigger star in Washington, maybe the NFL, than Griffin. The “R-G-3” chants were deafening, both at FedEx Field and on the road. Leading the Redskins to their first NFC East title in 13 years—as a rookie no less—indeed had its privileges.

What a difference a year makes.

After a devastating knee injury, constant friction with former head coach Mike Shanahan and one of the worst seasons in Redskins history, Griffin was smacked with the cold-hard reality of what happens when things take an ugly turn: you get put under the magnifying glass.

Suddenly the motivational tweets are mocked, the perceived self-promotion loathed. Your words carry little weight in the eyes of the fans and media without the results to back them up.

Former NFL head coach and ESPN analyst Herman Edwards told ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. this week that Griffin would be best served focusing all of his efforts on football:

It shouldn't get lost that Griffin's intentions are seemingly good and pure of heart. And on the field, there's no disputing his stellar work ethic.

But as he embarks on his third NFL offseason—perhaps the most pivotal in hopefully a lengthy career—learning Gruden's offense and leading the Washington Redskins back to the playoffs should be the only two things at the top of his mind. 

There's a time for the limelight and social media interaction. The current pulse of Redskins faithful should tell him that this offseason isn't that time.

Sometimes silence speaks volumes. And for a franchise quarterback, winning trumps anything that can be said in 140 characters or less.

So go catch your dreams, Robert—just keep them close to the vest until September. 

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