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Chris Cooley: “Mike Shanahan Didn’t Like Robert Griffin III”

December 31st, 2013 at 7:04 PM
By Zach Powell

We may never find out how the relationship between former Washington Redskins' head coach Mike Shanahan and star quarterback Robert Griffin III went awry.  Former Redskins' tight-end turned-analyst Chris Cooley doesn't deny a major rift between the two.

Cooley talked Monday to ESPN 980 about the fractured relationship:

"He has a hard time understanding what Mike didn’t like about him,” Cooley said of Griffin. “There was a problem with their relationship, but there was also this idea that Mike didn’t like Robert. And that idea wasn’t just among Robert; there were a lot of people that saw that Mike had a problem with Robert. And Mike never talked to Robert about that problem. So you’re a young guy; all you want to know is what people think of you, what people really want, what they expect, how they feel about you. And Robert throughout the entire year was under the impression that his head coach really didn’t like him."

What unfolded in Washington was strictly a case of old vs. new school.  A rabid Washington fan base had been salivating over the prospect of having a franchise quarterback after nearly twenty years of searching for one, and RG3's popularity was sky-high before he ever stepped foot on the football field.  It became increasingly evident that Shanahan's ego and Griffin's personality weren't going to be able to co-exist; and when you invest in Griffin as much as the Redskins did, Shanahan's ego was going to burst long before the team would consider moving Griffin.

Despite landing in Mike's doghouse, Cooley believed Griffin and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan had a solid working relationship:

“And he didn’t know why,” Cooley continued. “He was never told why. There was never a meeting to say hey, this is a problem, this is what I don’t like about you. You can’t do that. You have to know. When I was a player, I had to know. Even if it’s bad, just give me the bad news. Bad news is [better] than not knowing and just thinking the worst. So I was proud of Robert [for not criticizing the Shanahans], because I think he did respect a lot of what Kyle had done, I knew he got along well with Kyle, because guys that I trust said that they got along well. Rex Grossman said that they got along just fine all the time, they worked together all the time….

If we've learned anything from this whole debacle, the next Redskin's head coach is going to have to be one that can handle a larger-than-life quarterback under center.

Tags: Chris Cooley, Football, Kyle Shanahan, Mike Shanahan, NFL, Robert Griffin III, Washington, Washington Redskins

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