Rumors are floating around the nation's capital that the Washington Redskins may want to hire Baylor University's successful coach Art Briles, according to CBS and the Dallas Morning News recently. With the relationship between Redskins owner Dan Snyder and current coach Mike Shanahan reportedly on the rocks, word has surfaced the Washington team might be interested in hiring RG III's college coach if Shanahan leaves the 'Skins.
As if daring Snyder to fire him, Shanahan announced today he is considering placing Robert Griffin III on the bench for the last three games of the season. Snyder is known to have a close relationship with the former Heisman Trophy winner who played for Briles at Baylor University two seasons ago.
While Shanahan claimed his real reason for benching RG III was to prevent him from getting injured, others have speculated he is doing it to retaliate against the former Baylor star and to provoke Snyder into firing him immediately. Shanahan is reportedly in line for the head coaching job with the Houston Texanas if he comes to a parting of the ways with the Redskins ownership.
Wichita Falls attorney and Baylor alumnus Bob Balch said he hoped Briles wouldn't accept any offers from Washington. Balch said, "I'd say there's a 70 per cent chance he'll stay at Baylor. He's got a great thing going there. He's a loyal person, and I don't think he'd leave Baylor just for the money. He's already making $4 million a year at Baylor."
The Redskins have slumped to a 3-10 record this year and are already mathematically eliminated from the NFL playoffs for this season after winning the NFC East last year.
Shanahan suffered severe criticism for failing to pull RG III from the Redskins' playoff game when he suffered career-threatening knee injuries at the end of 2012. A national television audience watched as RG III appeared seriously injured during the first half of the playoff game last year and many were shocked when he didn't take him out of the game for his own safety.
Instead, Shanahan left RG III in the game, and the nation watched as Griffin went down hard near the end of the second half as he attempted to elude a tackle. Griffin underwent surgery and rehabbed during the off season so he could play this season.
Shanahan's sudden concern for Griffin's health this year seems strange after he refused to pull him from the playoff game last year when he was clearly at risk of ruining his career because of his knee injury. He has worn a brace this year to protect the damaged knee.
The relationship between Shanahan and Griffin has become even more tense recently as the quarterback recently inferred the Philadelphia Eagles defense seemed to know every play the Shanahans were calling on offense. While Griffin has since said he didn't mean to directly criticize the Shanahans, both Mike and son Kyle after reacted negatively in the news media toward RG III.
If Shanahan exits Washington for Houston, will Daniel Snyder throw millions at Briles in an effort to lure him to the nation's capital?
A recent feature in the Washington Post newspaper spoke in glowing terms of Briles leading Baylor to national prominence on the football field after the Bears had never had a winning season in the Big 12 before his arrival.
Baylor fans are hoping Briles will stay in Waco. He recently signed a 10-year contract and has said he hopes this year's Big 12 championship is a defining "moment which he hopes the Bears will repeat multiple times in the future."
The Bears are ranked fifth in the nation heading into their Tostitos Fiesta Bowl showdown Jan. 1 with the University of Central Florida.
Briles has said he has not been contacted by Washington, although he and RG III reportedly keep in touch on a weekly basis. Will the coach and his Heisman Trophy winner be re-united?
Only time will tell.
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