By Jamar Hudson / @jamarhudson
“What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore – and then run?…”
Or does it arrive in an NFL city via the second overall pick and take the league by storm, only to be asked, just three years later, to essentially pack your bags and go home?
Was it a dream? Did Robert Griffin III really exist in Washington? The 2012 season felt so real, didn’t it? That 76-yard touchdown run against the Vikings that brought cheers that could be heard from Landover to Leesburg was a sign of things to come, no? The first home playoff game in what felt like forever was just the beginning of a Manning- or Brady-like postseason run, right?
Could it be that it was all a dream? Or, for diehard Redskins fans, just another nightmare?
It’s hard to fathom that somehow, someway we’ve reached this point — again. In many ways it feels unfair. It feels like we were teased beyond belief. That, somehow, the football gods turned their backs on us — again.
Extreme? Perhaps. But Griffin was supposed to be the savior — the man who would take the Redskins back to the promised land and return the franchise to its rightful place among the elite in the NFL. For one season, the dream felt real. Fans were able to proudly boast about their QB and team. No more sitting quietly in the barbershop and being subjected to listen to Giants, Eagles and Cowboys fans boast while our team was out of the playoff picture by November. There was a hope in Washington, especially among black fans, that hadn’t existed since a young senator from Chicago said, “Yes, We Can” in 2008.
In 2012, he said it again, and we believed him, just like we believed in the hope of Griffin. With the recent announcement by head coach Jay Gruden that Kirk Cousins would be the starter for the 2015, all but signaling Griffin’s exit in D.C., a descent that many saw coming as he crashed and burned has officially hit rock bottom.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. One would be naïve to suggest that this is all on Griffin. Did he help his cause on and off the field? Absolutely not. But it’s not his fault that he’s played behind a mediocre-at-best offensive line. He certainly didn’t go out and plan to get injured. He didn’t ask for coaches that forced him — purposely or not — to constantly feel like he’s looking over his shoulders at Cousins.
Nonetheless, this movie has been played over and over in Washington, only with different characters. A miniseries, if you please. Dan Snyder has had a recurring role, overseeing a franchise that has made just four playoff appearances in 16 years. Marty Schottenheimer, Jim Zorn, Jason Campbell, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Donovan McNabb, London Fletcher and Mike Shanahan have made guest appearances.
Hell, even an older Joe Gibbs made a cameo.
And in a plot twist, the wife of new general manager Scot McCloughan showed up as an extra in the latest scene.
The biggest star of them all was Griffin. And his scene in the movie has quickly gone from triumph to tragedy. The dream that seemed so promising to many will most likely have to be fulfilled elsewhere. Because in Washington, there always seems to be a bad ending.
But like many, I keep coming back. And yes, I’ll be there Week 1 with burgundy and gold on, hoping to wake up from this awful nightmare.
30-plus. Lover of life. Hamptonian. Former ESPNer. Leader. Communicator. Consultant. Crown Royal connoisseur. Redskins sufferer. Washed. Views are mine.