Few NFL stars have had their careers flame out with the ferocity of Robert Griffin III. The No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft led the Redskins to a division title and a playoff spot as a rookie, only to find himself on the bench a few seasons later, on the Browns' roster by 2016 and out of football altogether in 2017.
But we're still talking about Griffin's tenure in Washington because things went so badly so quickly.
On Monday, former Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, who played with Griffin from 2012-2014, said that the quarterback was gloating when coach Mike Shanahan was fired after 2013 season. Griffin had been benched for the final three games that year and the Redskins finished 3-13 after going 10-6 during Griffin's rookie campaign.
"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 Chad Dukes of CBS Radio's 106.7 The Fan, via the Washington Post.
"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."
Griffin remembers things differently.
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 ... Put in an impossible situation w/ a coach who never wanted me. Made players like Santana Moss a believer through hard work, film study... Showing up early, leaving late, putting in the extra hours, staying after practice & getting extra work in. We won the division that year. ... 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. ... 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. ... 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."
Shanahan has said previously that he didn't want to move up to No. 2 to draft Griffin.
"I just didn't think it was very smart to give up that much for a guy who we didn't even know if he could drop back and throw," Shanahan told The Undefeated's Jason Reid in 2016.
Reid also reported that in February of 2013, Griffin called a meeting of various coaches, including Mike Shanahan, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur. Griffin didn't tell them what the meeting was about, only that he needed to speak.
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.
Shanahan didn't blame Griffin, but instead suggested that the owner was behind it.
"When Robert is standing there going through all of that, I know it's coming from Dan [Snyder]," Shanahan told Reid at the time. "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."
When Griffin, then with the Browns, was asked about Reid's account, he said, "I didn't even see that story."
Meanwhile, Moss maintains that karma caught up with Griffin, who remains unemployed.
"So, 2014 comes, and Jay Gruden comes in, and he don't care," Moss told Dukes. "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 Kyle 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. And, to be honest with you, I give it to you raw. I don't know no other way to give it to you — raw and uncut, I always say that. Sometimes I don't share a lot, with the fans and with you all, but people who know me, they know that I'm too truthful sometimes. But I was saying to myself that, as much as I love [Griffin] as a person, bro, and as much as I know from how you came into these doors, that was the dumbest mistake you could ever make in this league, because it's one of those brotherhoods. ...
"That's the No. 1 wrong thing to do, and that's the only thing that ever bothered me as a player," Moss said about the allegation that Griffin gloated about getting Shanahan canned. "It bothered me to this day because I said something about it. That goes to show how much it bothered me. For me to share that with you, it was bothering me, because I never forgot it."