Good Evening
Good Evening

Football, not baggage, is the main factor for Todd Bowles in evaluating Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins looks on before a game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 24, 2015 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Getty Images / Alex Goodlett

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Todd Bowles doesn’t care about Robert Griffin III’s baggage.

“I don’t know what he did to create such a buzz when he was in Washington,” the Jets coach said of the former Redskins quarterback. “All I know is the guy got hurt and he played football.”

Griffin was a lightning rod during four tumultuous seasons with the Redskins, but Bowles said the organization’s level of interest in the former Heisman Trophy winner won’t be swayed by the potential circuslike atmosphere that likely would follow him to Florham Park.

“You don’t factor that in,” Bowles said Tuesday during the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL’s annual spring meetings. “You factor the guy’s personality, you factor a guy’s playing ability and you factor whether he’s coachable and fits in with the team. Everything else just comes along with it.”

The Jets recently hosted Griffin on a two-day visit, though it was more for due diligence purposes. Their focus remains getting Ryan Fitzpatrick re-signed, but that doesn’t mean the door is closed entirely on a Plan B involving Griffin, the second overall pick in 2012.

“He won the Heisman so obviously he’s a good player, he can throw the ball,” Bowles said, adding that Griffin “impressed me” with his knowledge of football history.

“He got injured, I know that much. Without studying him full-time, I saw the plays from a couple years ago, he played pretty well. And when he came back, he didn’t play as well for whatever reason. I don’t know, probably got to ask their camp. But we had a good visit when he was here.”

Griffin also took a physical when he came to the Jets’ facility. “Everything’s fine,” Bowles said.

Asked how he reconciles Griffin’s stellar first season, when he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl selection, with his subpar performances in subsequent years, Bowles noted that “people have bad years.” The key is evaluating how a particular player will fare in your system, he added.

So what was Griffin’s explanation for why things didn’t work out in Washington?

“It just didn’t work out, he kept getting hurt and [the Redskins] played the other guy,” Bowles said, referring to quarterback Kirk Cousins. “He didn’t have any excuses, he didn’t badmouth anybody. He just wants to play and get better. And he moved forward. He understood what happened, he took it in stride and he moved forward.”

New York Sports