Former Washington wide receiver Santana Moss claimed that Robert Griffin III gloated and took credit for Mike Shanahan’s firing in 2013.
In an appearance with 106.7 The Fan and Chad Dukes, Moss said that Griffin took a “that’s what happens” approach, via the Washington Post:
“Come 2013, all of [a sudden] it’s a whole big dilemma in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, and just in our building, that, you know, the man, Mike Shanahan, and RG is not seeing eye to eye,” Moss told Dukes of the fractured relationship between Shanahan and Griffin during the quarterback’s second season. “You know, we don’t know. We’re players. We sit back and let things be done. That’s not something that I partake in, so it’s not nothing that I’m interested in. And before you know it, RG’s not playing. … I’m not sure if that was [Griffin’s] whole plan, but when the whole thing went about, we hear that Mike Shanahan’s not coming back the next year, then we hear the quarterback like, ‘Hey, mmhmm.’ Like basically saying that, ‘Hey, you got me out of here not playing last year the last few games, then that’s what happens. You get fired.’ You can’t do that. One thing I just shared with you, God don’t like ugly. The little credit that [Griffin] did take for saying, ‘They didn’t like what I was doing’ or ‘They benched me and not allowing me to play,’ that’s what happens.”
“So, 2014 comes, and Jay Gruden comes in, and he don’t care,” Moss continued on Monday. “We see that now. He doesn’t care. He don’t care what he says about you, he doesn’t care what he says at you. And he rips RG every chance he gets, like every meeting, and we’re sitting there looking like, ‘Yeah. You know what? You were just sooo happy that Mike and [offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] and them is gone, but now you’re getting your behind ripped every day, because you’re not playing the kind of football that we need to play for us to be successful.’ So, it comes back and bites you in your behind, because now you see this guy is at home.
In the interview, Moss also says he spoke up about it because it bothered him that much. He also said the Shanahans believed in him, and allowed him to be in Washington longer by moving him to the slot.
On Tuesday, Griffin responded to Moss’ allegations via Twitter, and he wasn’t happy.
No subtweeting needed— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 19, 2017
Santana Moss, I treat you like a brother & have always had your back. To openly lie about me is a betrayal.....
Been lied on a lot over the years— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 19, 2017
Those two tweets appeared to be it, but Griffin came back for seconds. He fired off a series of five tweets in which he says that he was put in a bad situation where the coach didn’t want him, despite his hard work.
Put in an impossible situation w/ a coach who never wanted me. Made players like Santana Moss a believer through hard work, film study...— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 19, 2017
Showing up early, leaving late, putting in the extra hours, staying after practice & getting extra work in. We won the division that year.— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 19, 2017
Next year coach wants out, says he wants out, says he never wanted me as his QB & I GET BLAMED? C'mon man. I have been the good soldier.— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 19, 2017
Some so desperately want me to fit this negative narrative that has been pushed about me. But I don't fit it. Never have. Never will.— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 19, 2017
Proved it in Cleveland. Voted Captain. Came back to play for my teammates just to help us win 1 game. With a broken shoulder. Stop the lies— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 19, 2017
The “negative narrative” Griffin refers to includes a mess that started to boil after his knee injury in their playoff loss against Seattle in January 2013.
A power struggled emerged between owner Dan Snyder and Shanahan. Snyder was stepping on Shanahan’s toes, and wanted Griffin to play less zone-read, and more in the pocket as a passer. It created a rift that was could not be mended.
The Undefeated’s Jason Reid documented a moment Griffin and Shanahan had in February 2013, where Griffin essentially tried calling the shots:
Griffin instructed the coaches to let him speak uninterrupted and rolled through a list of grievances, stressing that substantive changes had to occur immediately. Scrap the pass protection scheme and start over, Griffin demanded. There were 19 plays — primarily those from the 50-series and quarterback draws — that were unacceptable. Griffin, who supported his presentation with video clips of each play, expected them to be deleted from the playbook. Bottom line, Griffin said, he was a drop-back quarterback — not a running quarterback.
“When Robert is standing there going through all of that, I know it’s coming from Dan,” Shanahan said via The Undefeated in May 2016. “When Robert talked about ‘unacceptable,’ that was a word Dan used all the time. He was using phrases Dan used all the time. There’s only one way a guy who’s going into his second year would do something like this: If he sat down with the owner and the owner believed that this is the way he should be used.”
Shanahan and Griffin said prior to the 2013 season that they were on the same page, but when the season started and things went downhill, so did their relationship. By December, reports said that their relationship was beyond repair, and Shanahan would be fired later that month.
Moss has been out of the NFL since 2014, after spending the last 10 seasons of his career with Washington, where he made one Pro Bowl.
Griffin most recently was with the Cleveland Browns, but suffered injuries that derailed his 2016 season. He played in just five games, where the Browns were 1-5, earning their only victory of the season.
Since then, Griffin hasn’t been able to find a new team, and had a single workout with the Los Angeles Chargers this past offseason.