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Browns place Robert Griffin III on injured reserve

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The Robert Griffin III era has hit a serious snag in Cleveland.

The former Rookie of the Year and voted captain of the 2016 Browns has been placed on injured reserve after sustaining a serious injury to his non-throwing (left) shoulder in Sunday's season opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Griffin passed for 190 yards and rushed for another 37 in what could end up being his only start of the season. The new injured reserve policy does not force a team to identify their IR-designated to return candidate up front, so there is a chance Griffin could make it back in early November.

In the only good news the club received all day, it was announced that Griffin doesn't need surgery, and will be checked out again by team doctors in a month. Griffin sent out a tweet of encouragement on Monday stating his love for the franchise.

Browns head coach Hue Jackson stressed that he didn't think the hit which caused the injury late in the fourth quarter by Eagles rookie Jalen Mills was intentional despite Griffin trying to run out of bounds.

"It's really unfortunate because Robert worked extremely hard to put himself in a position to be our quarterback, to be one of the team leaders and it's just very unfortunate. But please let me make it known Robert didn't get hurt trying to run into a linebacker or (defensive backs) as what happened," Jackson told reporters Monday afternoon. "I think it was close to the end of the game when he broke out when I think it happened. I think he broke out and was trying to scramble and get out of bounds and I think Gary (Barnidge) was blocking and defending, and the defender was really out of bounds and he was trying to get there and at the last second they pushed him back.

"As he turned to go out of bounds and he turned and the guy was right there and hit him in the chest. So that's how that happened. It wasn't because he was trying to take on a defender doing a scramble or anything like it. It was just very unfortunate and these things happen in football and we'll move forward."

This cannot be looked at as anything but a devastating blow to the Browns. A team so firmly in rebuilding mode had tied its immediate hopes to the chance that Griffin could reclaim his form from an electric 2012 season. A preseason showed some promise and the development of new offensive targets before a lackluster, 10-point performance to start the season.

So it goes for Griffin, who has not completed a 16-game season since his rookie year. After tearing his ACL and LCL at the end of the 2012 season, he was benched for the final three games of the 2013 season after a brutal string of hits and continued infighting with then-head coach Mike Shanahan. In 2014, it was a dislocated ankle that cost him half a season and in 2015, Griffin sustained a concussion during the preseason before he sat out the entire regular season.

It might be easy to label the quarterback as injury prone and bundle him with other mobile passers like Michael Vick and Jake Locker, both talented players who took too many hits and saw their production decline as a result. Consider where Griffin might be had he not remained in a playoff game against the Seahawks four years ago, or not stuffed into a system that clearly did not fit his talents a few years later. Jackson provided significant hope for Griffin, though we'll have to wait at least two months to see if Griffin gets another chance.

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