Without saying a word, Robert Griffin III spoke loud and clear Tuesday.
With Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay insisting he hasn't made up his mind on which name to tell Commissioner Roger Goodell to call first April 26, Griffin ended the charade in one fell swoop.
He turned down the Colts' offer for a private workout. Flat out. No thanks.
RG3 stood up for prospects everywhere, so many of whom have allowed themselves to be paraded in and out of facilities of teams who use them as props in a pre-draft circus.
The mercurial Irsay made this news public, perhaps in an effort to show that he's doing his due diligence before handing the most high-profile college player in the country a bundle of money and the shadow vacated by Peyton Manning. Kudos. He should try to do his homework to confirm a decision he has no doubt already made.
But Griffin's move could have far greater consequences. It should not go unnoticed.
The decision by Griffin and his agent -- CAA's Ben Dogra -- should be praised. Griffin's refusal to be used by teams to create leverage against other prospects, perhaps for contractual reasons, should be celebrated. In addition, Redskins fans finally found a player who is simply dying to be the face of their franchise.
Did Griffin become the NFL's answer to LeBron James, who took unprecedented control of his future in assembling a union with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Griffin isn't building a team as James did, but he is ensuring the Redskins draft him second. He has power, and he is using it.
By allowing the Colts to wade through the draft process without working him out, Griffin knows they won't take him. Well, in theory, the Colts can still select him if they believe he'll be a better player than Andrew Luck, but they almost certainly won't. Griffin knows Washington owner Daniel Snyder and coach Mike Shanahan will.
In a draft system that refuses to allow players to control their own destiny, Griffin is following in the footsteps of John Elway and Eli Manning and controlling his future to the extent that he can. True, the word is out, via colleague Albert Breer, that Dogra's coveted client will be turning down all private workouts, including one from the Redskins. But no workout was more important than the Colts'. The 'Skins, after all, didn't trade their future to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson or anyone else.
Griffin's decision did raise the eyebrows of one high-ranking AFC talent evaluator who believes the move showed Griffin's ego. He wondered if Luck would have done everything he could to fight to be the No. 1 pick.
"Griffin knows that Luck is going first, but a competitor would take the workout and try to put himself in the mix for No. 1," said the personnel chief, who requested anonymity.
Luck did say on his pro day, after all, "Obviously you want to go No. 1. Who wouldn't want to go No. 1?" Apparently, Griffin doesn't mind. On the other hand, if Griffin knows it is a waste of his time, why appease the Colts just to be nice? It is a business.
One prominent agent cautioned that Dogra would not have instructed RG3 to blow off the workout if he believed there was any chance of Indy picking him. The agent understands it may be a conclusion that catches the NFL off-guard.
"In pretty much every case, it makes no sense," the agent said. "But in this one, it ends all speculation. This kid is legit. No need to waste his time or the franchise's time."
Pro days, for the most part, have ended. The focus now shifts to private workouts, with teams bringing in players and putting them through the paces. It will also begin the ongoing debate over what they mean.
When the Broncos selected Jay Cutler in 2006, they did so without showing the slightest bit of interest in him. They ignored him, then tried to make him their franchise quarterback. No one saw it coming.
Last year, the Patriots canceled a workout with Colorado tackle Nate Solder, forcing the first-round prospect to understandably believe he wasn't coach Bill Belichick's kind of player. Then Belichick did what he had planned the whole time to do: pick Solder at No. 17. "The minute before I left, it was canceled," Solder recalled on draft night in 2011. "That's all I know."
Teams will place the players in the hands of their doctors, force them to undergo a wide array of questions, and poke and prod. For quarterbacks such as Luck and Griffin, the exercise of private workouts might be most important.
"When you are taking a No. 1 pick and a quarterback, you want to have a comfort level with his arm strength, accuracy and his ability to handle a lot of information and display it on the field," the AFC scout said. "It is the only situation in the evaluation process where the coaches get to coach the potential choice. It's very important to have everyone -- coaches, scouts, etc. -- on the same page with the quarterback."
Griffin is forfeiting that. If the Colts really want to pick him -- if that is even a remote chance -- they will have to rely on game film. If they want to select him, they can. They won't. Griffin is locking himself in at No. 2 for the Redskins, who sent three No. 1 picks and a second-rounder to the Rams in exchange for the pick.
Thanks to the rookie wage scale from the new collective bargaining agreement, the money won't be much different for the first overall pick and the second. Last year, for instance, Cam Newton received a four-year deal worth $22 million from the Panthers (all guaranteed). Second pick Von Miller will earn nearly as much, with a $21 million agreement over four years.
Even assuming the Colts are considering Griffin, is it worth giving up $1 million to find the right fit and set himself up for the next contract? Is it worth forgetting the caché that comes with being selected first overall to join his desired team?
For Griffin, it is. Give him credit: RG3 knows what he wants. And he's not afraid to show it.
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