Browns’ Griffin cleared to practice


QB has been out since season opener

Associated Press

BEREA

Robert Griffin’s day of thanks came a little early.

For the first time since breaking a bone in his left shoulder in Cleveland’s season opener, Griffin practiced on Wednesday, a significant step for the quarterback whose career has been undermined by injuries and whose future remains unclear.

Griffin arrived at the team’s facility not knowing if he had been formally designated for return by the team. Once he received news he was going to practice, RG3 could hardly contain himself.

“I put my shoulder pads on and went out and ran around like a little kid,” he said.

On the field, an energized Griffin slapped hands with teammates during drills, and at one point ran and jumped on offensive coach Pep Hamilton’s back.

His wait was over, and Griffin celebrated.

Griffin’s return is a much-needed dose of positive news for the winless Browns (0-11), whose season took the first of many downward turns when he got hurt late in the fourth quarter of his Cleveland debut.

His injury changed the direction of Cleveland’s season. It not only sidelined him for 10 weeks, but his latest medical setback prevented the Browns — who signed him to a two-year, $15 million in March — from being able to assess the 26-year-old as their franchise quarterback, a position that has remained both baffling and vacant over the past 17 seasons.

While there’s no guarantee Griffin will play again this season, he believes he can be Cleveland’s starter for seasons to come.

“No doubt,” he said. “I have the confidence in that. I can’t speak for coach or anyone else, but they’ve expressed that to me. I still feel I can be the guy for this team, for this organization, and I look forward to going out and proving it.”

First, he has to prove he can take contact, and the way Browns quarterbacks have been getting pummeled lately, that test could include being run over by a truck.

Griffin is scheduled to undergo another medical test to determine if the bone in his shoulder has healed completely. If he’s cleared, there’s a strong chance he’ll play in one of Cleveland’s final four games after the Dec. 4 open week.

Until then, Griffin can continue practicing as the Browns have 21 days to decide whether to activate him or keep him on injured reserve. Griffin made it clear he wants to play.

He’s only made one start in 30 months, and questions about his durability followed Griffin from Washington to Cleveland. Griffin, though, maintains he’s far from finished.

“I’m 26 years old, man, I’m not 45,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of years of football left and I’m real grateful. It’s Thanksgiving, time to give thanks, and I’m thankful for the ability to have so much experience in the league, good and bad to this point at 26 years old, being in multiple offensive systems.”

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