"The first step in rebuilding RG3 was to mend a broken heart.
"For all the flash and dazzle and public bravado, Robert Griffin III is a sensitive young man barely two years removed from the protective cocoon of Baylor, his nearby Texas hometown of Copperas Cove and the Sunday night hair-braiding sessions with his mother Jackie they called 'mommy time.' He longs to be liked. And last fall's divorce from Redskins coach Mike Shanahan tore a hole inside him far from damaging than the shredded knee in the 2012 playoffs that seemed to ignite their breakup.
"He grew up admiring Shanahan, then the ruddy, taciturn general of his beloved Denver Broncos, and the coach's sudden disapproval was devastating. 'Robert thought Mike hated him,' says a former Redskins teammate who did not want to speak on the record in part because he believes Griffin needs to get past Shanahan.
"As Shanahan pushed him away with icy glares in the waning weeks of a ruined 2013 season and stories appeared saying the team's coaches couldn't work with him, Griffin struggled to understand why.
"'It's like he hand an ex-girlfriend he loved or wanted to love and he can't,' the former teammate adds.
"Some of those who know Griffin from his college days say he is a uniquely honest man, incapable of the little lies people tell to get through social situations. They say his sincerity is one of his most endearing traits.
"But it also means he does not mask his emotions well. Friends wish he would stop talking about Shanahan. That time has passed. And yet there festers inside him an urge to explain something. To make people understand. To let them know what it was like.
"'For me it was just heartbreaking,' Griffin says. 'You know with everything that happened -- came into the league with -- I was a huge Bronco fan, everybody knew that, and I had the coach of my dreams pick me in the draft.'
"He stops. He repeats himself.
"'Heartbreaking,' he says...
"...But the rejection by his football hero lingers. Vague references to it sprinkle in his words as if doing so will bring a sudden clarity. Earlier in the day, someone had asked him what he would say to Shanhan's son, Kyle, the Redskins' old offensive coordinator -- a man he was supposed to see at a preseason game -- and Griffin fumbled for an answer. What do you say to the son of a coach you no longer trust?
"As he sits on the couch, 2013 still seems like such a tanlged mass of darkness: the blown-up knee, the frenetic spirit through rehab to make that first game, the implosion of a relationship with a coach that was supposed to last for years.
"'I think if anyone had gone through that situation and not been hurt, then I don't know if they would be human,' he says.
"He is asked if he understands last year.
"He shakes his head.
"'No,' he says. 'But right now I don't need to try, you now? I don't need to try and understand what happened last year. I need to continue to grow as a football player, as a man, as a person for this team. That's been the goal this entire offseason. It's not to try and understand what happened last year.
"'Yeah, I put last year into perspective and have used it as a fuel to move me forward, but I don't need to try to understand why it happened because it's kind of like trying to understand why there are so many planets out there, or is anyone else out there,or how did God build the human body. How did all this stuff happen? It can drive you crazy.'"
"Former Redskins heaad coach Mike Shanahan nearly stepped into the booth for FOX Sports as an NFL color commentator, this all according to play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton, by way of 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen.
"Meaning Shanahan could have possibly been calling Redskins games this fall.
"Paulsen, who previously covered the Redskins for 106.7 The Fan the past four NFL seasons, ran into Stockton in the Philadelphia airport on Monday...
"...Paulsen went on to say he contacted someone close to Shanahan to confirm the news, learning, 'What I'm being told is that Mike Shanahan will not be calling games on FOX. That is not going to happen. But at one point in time, there was at least a conversation. Could you have imagined? Shanny on the call of Redskins games in September?!'"
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