As the clock wound down on the Washington Redskins' final home game Sunday evening, Robert Griffin III began giving hugs to people on the sideline whom he may never see again. The camera caught him hugging an equipment manager, their embrace longer than usual, then he walked into the locker room and cleaned out his locker for what is most likely the last time at FedEx Field.
"That first year, man, Robert was a rock star. Then different things happened," former Redskins receiver Santana Moss told ESPN. "But he can take all those things, learn from them and get better. If Robert is like any of the best people in the history of this game, then he'll use it all as motivation. But you look at a lot of these quarterbacks out there, and you mean to tell me Robert ain't gonna get another chance?"
In 2012, just three years ago, RGIII looked as if he would be the savior for the woeful franchise. He was a dual-threat option whose accuracy on the long ball was a blessing to a town that hadn't had a winning season, a real winning season, in years.
But three football years might as well be ages ago, since that was all it took for the 2012 Rookie of the Year to become the last sad note from an Adele song played on repeat at ungodly volumes.
Hello from the outsideeeee…
Before the Redskins' final home game, Griffin went out to the field and ran a lap. Maybe it was a goodbye trot. Maybe it was a victory lap for handling the pressure of being a star whose public benching became a bigger story than the franchise. His last year with the Redskins was not glorious—it was embarrassing. Coach Jay Gruden said that RGIII wouldn't see the field all year, and he didn't. It was a public flogging for an athlete who injured himself going all out for the team in 2013. Didn't matter.
NFL.com reports that Griffin's release from the team is "a matter of timing," since the clear direction for the franchise appears to be golden quarterback Kirk Cousins, who endeared himself to fans with his catchphrase "You like that!" and his passing accuracy over the last seven games.
Where Griffin will land is up for debate. If the winds of karma are blowing correctly, then Griffin ends up with divisional rivals the Dallas Cowboys, who are rumored to be interested in the former Baylor star.
"We all know one thing about this game: Things change fast," former Redskins running back Clinton Portis told ESPN. "Robert did great things for the franchise and the city in 2012. But it's Kirk's team now. That's just the way it is."
Griffin did leave two things behind in his locker: one, a biblical-verse mantra I'm sure he must say to himself—"I Can Do All Things"; the other, a version of "The Paradoxical Commandments":
Stephen A. Crockett Jr. is associate editor of news at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.