1. You can be certain that I won't be spending the offseason penning article after article on the recovery of Robert Griffin III. I am already exhausted by the topic, and we have only scratched the surface of January. I wonder though, about the wisdom of Dr. James Andrews saying, in an interview while promoting his new book, that Griffin "will likely start the 2013 season."
2. The one thing we can't afford is the kind of setback that goes hand-in-hand with returning to the field too soon. Setbacks during rehabilitation are to be expected and are part of the process. As anyone who has had major reconstructive surgery will tell you, there are some real "one step forward, two steps back" periods of the recovery that test you physically and emotionally. Over the course of weeks and months, patients can feel lost in the process, becoming susceptible to depression and drowning in a seemingly bottomless sea of futility. To be fair, not every patient has a seven- or eight-figure bank account to return to, or the spotlight that comes with being the quarterback of the Washington Redskins to resume soaking up, but that does not free RG3 from the dangers of the psychological aspect of this journey.
3. I am not an elite professional athlete. I think that gets lost on people sometimes (kidding). I have to believe that guys like Griffin are capable of putting the most intense form of pressure on themselves imaginable. Innate ability and freakish athleticism go a long way, but the mental toughness that many of the most elite athletes possess can be a double-edged sword. The ability to push your body and mind to the limit and beyond is what gets these guys to the pinnacle of success, but it also can be responsible for driving them over the edge.
4. I don't believe for a second that those Gatorade commercials portray a false version of Griffin's work ethic. The results of his efforts were on display all season long. You don't do what he did as a rookie without being able to both mentally and physically push yourself to a place that is borderline unnatural. The money, fame and glory are of course part of the allure, but guys like Griffin seem to want more than that. They want to win, and they want to be the greatest.
5. You have to believe that Griffin has already placed unrealistic recovery goals on himself without any help from anyone else. That is how guys like him operate. He is going to tell you that if the season started in July, he would hope to be out there leading his team. It will have to be a coordinated effort between team doctors, trainers, teammates and friends to help keep Griffin from hurting himself unnecessarily.
6. I am reminded of Gilbert Arenas trying to do too much too soon when he came back from his knee injury. (I am not comparing the specific injuries here.) We know that there was a great deal of pressure that he put on himself, but the team and fans also placed a rather cumbersome burden on him to return because of the resources wrapped up in him and his importance to our chances of winning (probably more fans than team, which in retrospect was unfair). If you recall, Gilbert Arenas was very much in tune with the fans of the Wizards. He put himself at risk before he was 100% healed multiple times, and part of that was all about his desire to deliver for the fans and his teammates. Does that sound like anybody else in this discussion?
7. Hell, I am reminded of Robert Griffin III putting himself back into the Ravens game, as well as RG3's refusal to believe he was limited during the Seahawks playoff game. We have nationally televised evidence that this player won't think twice about putting himself and his future in jeopardy.
8. This all brings me back to these proclamations about Griffin being able to step back under center for the season opener in 2013. What sense does it make to have a team doctor suggesting that the "Miracle Prognosis" is in fact the publicly stated prognosis? Further, aren't these kinds of athletes sometimes motivated to exceed expectations? There is ZERO room here to exceed expectations it would seem.
9. I am not an orthopedic surgeon. I think that gets lost on people sometimes (still kidding). Is it possible that Dr. Andrews--based on his first-hand knowledge of the situation as the surgeon--has formed a medical opinion 99.9% based on tangible and known facts here? Of course. I once planned to spend an entire day cleaning my basement. But then, after spending a few minutes digging into the job, I discovered that there was a place for the mess in the back of my shed. A whole day of work collapsed into 30 minutes. It was a miracle, celebrated by my wife as my crowning achievement...until she had to go into the shed for Christmas decorations and discovered the truth. I'm not entirely sure how these situations are directly linked to be honest with you, but I recall being invited to live in my shed. I'm just saying that it is possible that, like my basement mess, RG3's knee may have a solution that doesn't require the worst-case time frame. But let Griffin be the one to push himself as hard as he can--do we really need to install the most far-fetched expectations on him at the franchise level?
10. Shouldn't the team be soft-pedaling this? Is it very responsible to publicly set the expectations to "Adrian Peterson-Miracle" levels? If I was the Redskins, I would fill out the PUP paperwork TODAY with Griffin's name and info and let that leak to the press. I would make sure the world knew that I was both ready and accepting of the reality of a Griffinless squad for some period of time. They already have the playbook for pumping up Kirk Cousins as the starter in the offseason. It's called the "John Beck Plan." There will be no controversy when Griffin is ready to go. There will be no angst about reinserting him into the lineup when he is 100% healthy. In this case, I trust fully that Griffin will push himself as hard as is possible. I don't believe that the team should pile on with public statements of best-case scenario expectations. (By the way, where do we get off expecting the best-case scenario? HA! Seriously, it is like Wile E. Coyote expecting to catch the Road Runner.) Let's let Griffin rehab while investing heavily in the growth and development of Cousins. If we are going to choose the path of extraordinary proclamations, let's go with, "This is a playoff team with Kirk Cousins at the helm, and once RG3 returns, a Super Bowl team."