BEREA, Ohio — Robert Griffin III’s left arm is cradled in a black sling, restrained. Same as his career.
And as RG3 walked around the practice field Wednesday, still wearing his orange No. 10 jersey, all he could do was offer advice and encouragement to Cleveland’s other quarterbacks, receivers and teammates who are going forward without him.
Griffin’s season of revival is on hold.
Sidelined for a minimum of eight games — and perhaps longer — after breaking the coracoid bone in his left shoulder in Sunday’s opener at Philadelphia, Griffin is nonetheless determined to overcome an unexpected obstacle.
“It’s the people who don’t quit in life who end up making it and achieve all of their goals,” he said. “That’s kind of the focus that I have right now, to stay in it with the team, stay in it mentally, and then when I’m physically ready to get back out there, I’ll be out there.”
Making his regular-season debut with the Browns, Griffin was injured in the final minutes of the 29-10 loss when he was drilled near the sideline by Eagles rookie defensive back Jalen Mills. Griffin was attempting to run out of bounds when Mills, being blocked by tight end Gary Barnidge and with one foot on the sideline, delivered a hard hit to the QB’s chest area.
Griffin did not accuse Mills of an illegal hit, and said he was not attempting to run him over — a charge made by several national TV commentators, who felt the QB had time to slide safely.
“I don’t think it was necessarily a dirty play, I just think it was something that was unfortunate that happened,” said Griffin, who also got a slight push from cornerback Ron Brooks. “If you watch my reaction, I was as surprised as anybody. I wasn’t trying to run anybody over or make it a bravado moment. I was just trying to get out of bounds, and that’s just the way it unfolded.”
Griffin will be re-evaluated in three to four weeks. At that point, doctors will decide whether he needs surgery. An operation would certainly end his season, and it’s still possible the 26-year-old won’t play again in 2016 if he hasn’t healed enough.
Whatever the case, Griffin won’t push things. He wants to play again this season, but not at the risk of missing even more time.
“It’s not anything that I’m going to rush back into,” he said. “If the doctors say I’m good, the trainers say I’m good, and my body feels good, then that is the goal. It’s not something where I’m saying all bets are off. I just want to do the right thing and listen to what they have to say.”
Despite the injury, Griffin was in good spirits when he spoke to reporters for the first time since his diagnosis. During practice, Griffin smiled easily as he interacted with teammates and spent a few moments talking to rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman, also a Baylor product.
Browns coach Hue Jackson believes the field can provide Griffin some comfort.
“It’s great to have him out there,” he said. “He needs to be around his teammates, and I’m sure they need to be around him. It’s unfortunate it happened. But he’ll grow from it, learn from it, and we will, too.”
Griffin will rely on his faith to help him deal with yet another significant injury. He has endured two major knee injuries, a dislocated ankle, back problems and a concussion.
It would be enough to make anyone uneasy, but Griffin doesn’t believe he’s snake-bitten.
“You can’t think that way,” he said. “I have only missed eight games in my career due to injury. You just have to make sure you stay focused, keep your mindset right and don’t let that affect you as far as what you think, or go out there and play the game. It is a beautiful game. I am very blessed to have an opportunity to play it. I look forward to getting back out there.”
NOTES: Jackson knows many Browns fans have lost patience in a team that has made the playoffs once since 1999. He called his opener “horrible,” vowed improvement. “The fans might not like me for a while, but they’re going to love me here pretty soon,” he said. “Eventually they will love me because we’re going to win. We’re going to win a championship here for the Cleveland Browns.” … Jackson said rookie DE Carl Nassib earned his promotion to the starting lineup after getting a sack and knocking down a pass last week.