In this day in age of sports, where it at times seems we are entirely too cautious with athletes, perhaps the tale of the 2012 Season and RGIII’s knee should be a a lesson we all learn from going forward.
In baseball, pitchers are often not allowed to perform above “x” amount of innings, regardless of if the team is competing or the athlete’s health, based on the youth & upside of the athlete, and the length of a season. They shut you down, because that’s the way baseball has become. In my opinion to a fault (at times).
In America’s most popular and brutal sport – In regards to a possibly “once-in-a-generation” talent in Robert Griffith III, Redskin Coach, Mike Shanahan, decided to not be cautious and go for the gold, so to speak.
Maybe Coach Shanahan was around all summer to hear the backlash Washington Nationals GM, Mike Rizzo endured, when in the midst of a pennant race (the first the city has seen since the Year of the Flood), he shut down his team’s ace / perennial superstar / perennial all star / etc – Steven Strasburg. Fans and Baseball Pundits were up in arms over the decision. How often does a MLB title opportunity come around? How often does the chance to win a championship in any sport come around? (especially if you’re a fan of the Metro DC Area Teams). When Rizzo’s Nationals were shut down in the playoffs, grumblings of “what if?” was heard all over town. As if a title was imminent had Strasburg kept pitching.
But one thing you will never hear a fan say is “What if” – followed by the of bleakest notions. In this instance, what if Strasburg SERIOUSLY injured himself, as he pushed himself well beyond his physical limits?
This time around, in the same exact city, Mike Shanahan rolled the dice. He threw out there an injured RGIII in hopes that his unique style of quarterbacking, and his raw athletisim and toughness could carry his Redskins to a Super Bowl. Despite RGIII only being a rookie, Despite his best years being ahead of him, Despite the fact that RGIII was finally the franchise player that the franchise has been waiting for since drafting Heath Shuler (?). And Shanny lost the bet. He crapped out, busted out, lost.
RGIII will be back and effective down the road. I have no doubts. He has all the make up of a successful NFL Quarterback: a natural born leader, Accountable, tough, team 1st oriented, motivated, humble, believer in himself.