Eight years ago, former Texas head coach Mack Brown didn't recruit Robert Griffin III as a quarterback, but rather as an "athlete" who could play in different spots on the football field. Oddly enough, it appears as if Washington may agree with him –– at least on a temporary basis.
The RG3 saga has taken another twist, as Jeff Darlington of NFL.com reports Washington was playing Griffin at safety with the scout team defense at practice this week. Griffin was cleared Friday to return from a concussion he suffered three weeks ago, and will be the inactive QB for Washington Sunday. Washington will start Kirk Cousins under center Sunday with Colt McCoy serving as his backup.
It's been a tumultuous three weeks for Griffin, who was originally cleared to return for the next game after suffering the concussion Aug. 20 before the NFL's independent neurologist changed his mind and decided the quarterback wasn't ready. That neurologist has resigned from his position, but stayed on to evaluate Griffin up until the quarterback was given clearance.
It's not uncommon for third-string quarterbacks to play various positions on the scout team at practices, but most third-string QBs don't make as much as RG3. If Griffin had suffered an injury while playing safety, Washington would've been on the hook for his $16.1 million salary in 2016.
Still, Scott Allen of the Washington Post points out that third-stringers are expected to do things like play weird positions on scout team and now that Griffin is buried on the depth chart, it just comes with the territory.
Though Cousins seems entrenched at quarterback for the time being, Washington sources tell Darlington that Griffin is still on the team because an improbable turn of events could still make him an asset this year. But as time goes on, it appears increasingly unlikely Griffin will see any snaps at quarterback in the foreseeable future. Reports surfaced Sunday that Washington had a chance to trade Cousins to the Jets after Geno Smith broke his jaw –– before the Griffin concussion controversy –– but opted not to.
College football fans like to mock Brown for his QB evaluation failings at the end of his tenure, which included rumors of him recruiting Johnny Manziel as a safety and passing on Andrew Luck, and for good reason. Griffin and Manziel are both Heisman Trophy winners.
But for one week at least, while Griffin played safety during practice, Brown was right. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of Griffin's season plays out, as he could still be traded to a QB-hungry team. RG3 won Rookie of the Year honors as a quarterback just three years ago, you know.
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