ASHBURN, Va. — Robert Griffin III had a full practice and looked pretty good. Kirk Cousins had a full haircut that looked so bad he had to apologize for it.
The Washington Redskins quarterbacks were back to their regular pecking order Wednesday. Griffin went through a regular full practice with first-team receivers for the first time since spraining his right knee, while Cousins was an affable undercard whose hilariously hairy moment was more interesting than anything he had to say about football.
Griffin said he ran plays at full-speed, hoping to persuade doctors to clear him for this week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has made known his unhappiness over sitting out Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns, and he’s clearly frustrated that the final say is out of his control.
“I’m ready to play whenever they want me to play,” Griffin said. “So if it’s this week, next week, next couple of weeks. Whatever they say goes, so I’ll be ready.”
Coach Mike Shanahan said doctors will see how Griffin’s knee responds to the practice, particularly as to whether there’s any swelling when the rookie shows up at work Thursday.
“Hopefully they’ll look at it tomorrow and tell us it is full-go,” Shanahan said.
Still, the signs are much more positive for Griffin than last week, when the Redskins sent out mixed signals in an effort to the keep Browns guessing. Griffin moved relatively well during the portions of practice open to reporters throughout the week, but then Cousins would take the first-team snaps once the session was closed.
Wednesday didn’t have the same smoke-screen feel. After playing decoy for a week, Griffin talked about throwing passes to receiver Pierre Garcon with an arm that was “a little bit more juiced up and ready to go.”
Griffin said his relationship with Shanahan hasn’t been strained by having to sit out a game — and that it was important not to let personal emotions bring down the team.
“You don’t take those things to the field and try to become a cancer or a distraction to the team,” Griffin said. “You support the team. … You can be unhappy about something, but you’ve still got to learn, and that’s what I did. I was upset, but I never let that show on the field and just watched and was able to see it from a different perspective.”
Griffin, the No. 2 overall draft pick and No. 2 in the league in passer rating, was hurt late in the fourth quarter of the win over the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 9. Fellow rookie Cousins led the Redskins to victory in relief, then threw for 329 yards in the 38-21 victory over the Browns. The win (8-6) put the Redskins in control of their playoff fate. Their five-game winning streak has them tied with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants atop the NFC East, and Washington holds the tiebreaker over both clubs.
The victory also gave Cousins a chance to bask in the glow of being a winning starting NFL quarterback. His run of fame continued Wednesday when he showed up for a session with reporters with his mop of hair gone, replaced by a close-cut ’do that — from the eyebrows up — made him look 45 years old.
“I have to apologize to my family and friends back home,” he said. “I think I’m embarrassing them. I try to represent them well, and my haircut’s not doing it.”
He then explained that when he went to get a haircut on Monday, he had a “communication breakdown” with a female barber whose English wasn’t the best. She also took off his glasses, so he couldn’t see what she was doing.
“She wheels me back around,” Cousins said. “I look at the mirror and I realized I had a Mohawk. So I tell her, ’Just shave it off. I don’t know what to tell you.’ So she just buzzed it off, and I have to live with this for the next couple of weeks until it grows back. … The tough thing was that I didn’t realize until that moment that I do have a receding hairline. That was tough to take. My dad is more-or-less completely bald, and I was hoping I wasn’t going to get his genes.”
Cousins’ remarks were televised live on national television, and soon he was trending on Twitter. Griffin called the haircut “bad.” Shortly afterward, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was looking at a photo of the haircut on the Internet and discussing it on the phone with Redskins writers.
“Wow,” Foles said. “I’m going to have to do that to mine — cut it all off.”