WASHINGTON -- Monday marked another milestone in the Jay Gruden Era in Washington: The start of the Redskins' offseason program.
There were no helmets, no pads, no real practice. But what we had was plenty of off-field fodder.
Robert Griffin III -- still fresh off of a sophomore slump -- was quite active on Twitter one day after he released his new logo on Instagram. He tweeted 10 times over the course of the day, and some of them likely grabbed him attention he doesn't want.
No matter what, have to stay above the fray. Same ones bad mouthing you on TV and radio are smiling in your face asking for favors— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) April 7, 2014
No need to @ anyone. No need to give them that satisfaction. Gonna stay on the grind with my bros— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) April 8, 2014
That first one earned him this response from former Redskin and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth:
I'd love to tell you that was the end of it. But it wasn't.
From there, RG3 started taking what looked like some veiled shots at fired coach Mike Shanahan by retweeting a pair of Redskin-related stories posted by ProFootballTalk.com. Alongside a retweet of PFT's headline that Gruden said Griffin works harder than any player Gruden has seen, RG3 fired off the following tweet:
Then Griffin paired a PFT story about tackle Trent Williams defending newly-signed receiver DeSean Jackson with the following comment:
Look, I get that RG3 is a different kind of guy. I know that his swag and his marketability is what sets him apart from his peers. But he hasn't won anything yet.
There was a time Michael Jordan got a lot of flak for having the shoes, the commercials, and the endorsements before winning a title -- and rightfully so. Ditto for LeBron James. It seems the nature of pro athletics in this country is celebrating a player as "great" or acting like he's arrived before he's actually done something truly exceptional at that level.
RG3 is currently in that boat. When he's got a resume like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning he can market new logos all day and night without repercussion. But until then, he's got to do a better job of creating the perception that he's putting in the work like Brady and Manning do.
I'm not saying the kid can't make a living. I'm all for Griffin making the RG3 brand all it can be (and quite frankly, the logo looks great). I'm just saying this offseason--far and away the most pivotal of his young career--isn't the time to do it. His second NFL season was rife with problems, both from a performance and a perception standpoint. This third season should be dedicated to correcting both.
That said, Griffin's coach doesn't seem concerned by any of this.
"He works out more than anybody I've ever seen," Gruden said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio (thanks, Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post). "If I ever felt like that was an issue, or if he was spending more time trying to create logos than he was working out and getting himself ready to play, then there'd be an issue. But there's no issue in my mind. I think nowadays, these quarterbacks and these players, in general, they have people do a lot of work for them. They have these mangers, these agents, and these commercial people working for them, and they're doing all the work. I don't think Robert's doing any. He's just signing off on it. Adidas is doing all the logo things for him. So if it's extra money for him, have at it. As far as dedication and his desire to win and his work ethic, that is not to be questioned. He's unlike anybody I've ever seen as far as that's concerned."
Even still, Griffin is losing a good share of the outside support he enjoyed in his terrific rookie season. He can easily earn it back with a repeat of 2012, but he needs to expand on this tweet...
New Year. New Team. One Goal. Win!!! Back at it in the morning. Right now off to watch this championship game! Enjoy— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) April 8, 2014
...and add another goal: more touchdowns, less tweeting. Sometimes silence is (burgundy and) golden.
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