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Teammates: Griffin III Earned Right To Play

Posted Jan 6, 2013

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (knee) played hurt through most of tonight's contest, but told his coaches and teammates he could still be effective in the game.

With the team's medical staff huddled around Robert Griffin III at the 5-yard line, the understandable question was if Robert Griffin III (knee) had been left in the game too long.

He first showed signs of discomfort in the first quarter, when an awkward sidestep in the red zone caused him to grimace in pain.

Griffin III appeared hobbled for the next two quarters, but assured his coaching staff that he was able to continue.

"There's no way I was coming out of that game," Griffin III told the media post game. "I'm the quarterback of this team. It's my job to be out there if I can play."

After consecutive scoring drives to open the game, Griffin III threw for just 16 more passing yards following the injury.

Head coach Mike Shanahan said after the game that he monitored Griffin III's status, but was confident that Griffin III gave the Redskins the best chance to win.

"[Griffin III] said, 'Coach, there's a difference between being injured and being hurt,'" Shanahan recounted after the game. "'I can guarantee I'm hurt right now, but give me a chance to win this football game because I guarantee I'm not injured.'

Shanahan continued: "We would not play Robert if we thought there was a risk of him further injuring his LCL. He told the coaches he deserved to play and I couldn't disagree with him."

That sentiment was shared in the locker room after the game, as fellow team captain London Fletcher commended his teammate's warrior mentality.

"I think for Coach Shanahan, he has to listen to the player in this situation," Fletcher said. "When you're talking about a franchise quarterback who has made so many plays to get you to this point, and the player tells you he can go, you have to let him go. This is the playoffs. This is a do-or-die situation.

"Never underestimate the heart of an athlete when they're put in a competitive situation. I think with Robert, he's willed himself to play. He's earned the right to play. If he tells the coach he's able to play, then let him play. At the end, when he couldn't go anymore, that's when Coach Shanahan had to make the choice to take him out."

Griffin III assured the media after the game that he did not feel like his injury kept the Redskins from winning the game, regardless of how it looked.

Shanahan acknowledged that choosing to leave him in the game was a "very tough decision." While he does anticipate rethinking the decision, he does not anticipate regretting it.

"You have to go with your gut, and I did" Shanahan said. "I'm not saying my gut is always right, but I've been there before. In different situations--I get to know Robert better as time goes on and I'll know how stubborn he is.

"He's a competitor and I'll probably second guess myself when I take a different look. Should you have done it earlier? I think you always do that, especially after you don't win."

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