RG3's back as Redskins host Eagles on Monday night

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 08, 2013
On Monday night, Robert Griffin III will perform his usual pregame rituals. He'll listen to the Michael Jackson song ''Thriller.'' He'll take a stroll on the turf, from end zone to end zone. ''I am not very superstitious,'' Griffin said. ''But I do walk around the field one time before every game to kind of mark my territory, saying, `Within these lines, you control what happens.''' The last time he played, much of that control slipped away. He reinjured his right knee twice and became a diminished version of his record-breaking self. He stayed in the game until the knee gave out for good in the Washington Redskins' home playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in early January. It was the end of the season, but the story of the knee was just beginning. Shouldn't coach Mike Shanahan have removed Griffin from the game earlier? Shouldn't Dr. James Andrews, standing on the sideline working for the Redskins, have intervened? Or shouldn't Griffin have swallowed his competitive pride and taken himself out? A few days later, Andrews reconstructed two ligaments in Griffin's right knee. Eight months later to the day, Griffin will start in prime time in Week 1 of the regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles. He made his rehab into a very public mission, returning quicker than standard medical science would suggest, and audaciously calling out his coach more than once over mistakes made in the Seattle game, as well as the practice schedule at training camp. Along the way, Griffin also married his longtime girlfriend, but he never lost focus on the knee, even seeking out an amateur football team - Les Dauphins de Nice - to get in a workout while traveling in the south of France on his honeymoon. He so dominated the offseason headlines that the Seattle loss seems ages ago, and the anticipation of his return to the field is such that he admits it could be even more emotional than his NFL debut a year ago. ''That's going to be tough,'' he said. ''I don't know if there'll be tears. If there are, they'll be tears of joy. It's just been a long journey. It's been an adventure; it's been fun. You don't necessarily want to go on the journey that I had to go on this offseason, but you try to enjoy it along the way and hit those milestones. And to come out of that tunnel with the team Monday night's going to be a great moment.'' The stadium will be familiar; the turf won't. The poor Redskins sod became a story in itself during and after the playoff game, and the team has put in new grass that hopefully will hold up better. Still, it's hard not to look at the 5-yard line at the north end of the stadium and visualize the site of Griffin's knee buckling the wrong way. So many feelings. Little wonder last year's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year says he'll rely on his teammates to keep him steady. ''They'll be there to help me manage my emotions,'' he said. ''I've told them I'm going to need them for that.'' Griffin proved last year to be a spotlight player, rising to the occasion in high-profile games as he led the Redskins to their first division title in 13 years. Playing in the first Monday night game is such an event, the phoenix rising from the ashes before a packed stadium that won't stop chanting ''R-G-3!'' If he puts on another show, if the knee holds up, if he leads the Redskins to victory, the drama of the last eight months will start to fade quickly. When the history is written, says Redskins veteran backup Rex Grossman, the games themselves are all that really matters. ''Week 1, nobody remembers anything that happened before that,'' Grossman said. ''They remember the playoff game and Week 1, and whatever happens in between, nobody cares.'' --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org --- Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Cult of Sport: Before there was Ezekiel Elliott, there was Eric Dickerson
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Relationship between Jeff Fisher, Rams GM is ‘toxic’

Ex-Eagle: Strippers told him that Donovan McNabb hated him

Admiral rips Kaepernick during Pearl Harbor speech

Kevin Love has great tweet about his mucous malfunction

Houston AD seemingly refutes Kiffin rumors with clever tweet

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dana White: Conor McGregor will appear on ‘Game of Thones’

Report: Aroldis Chapman signs with Yankees

Le’Veon Bell thinks Giants were trying to hurt him

White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals for haul of impressive prospects

Looking at NFL injuries that could impact the Super Bowl chase

Report: RG3 to start Sunday barring health setback

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

Four stinkiest games remaining on the 2016 NFL schedule

Ten young NBA players developing into stars

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/7: The date we got to know Bo

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

Ten most intriguing non-NY6 bowl games

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker