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Shanahan on RG3: “very special,” can be one of the best ever

Robert Griffin III, Mike Shanahan

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan ranks with quarterback Robert Griffin III during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Landover, Md., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


Washington coach Mike Shanahan says quarterback Robert Griffin III isn’t just a good young quarterback. Griffin is, according to Shanahan, a unique talent who has the potential to be the best ever to play the game.

Shanahan told Albert Breer of NFL Network that players like Griffin come along so rarely that a blockbuster trade like the one Washington pulled off to draft Griffin is a bargain.

“That’s why you give up two 1s and a No. 2 for him. You give those things up because you see something very, very special,” he said. “You see what type of athlete he is and what type of ability he has. He can make every throw on the field, he’s extremely bright, he’s got great work ethic, and he’s got passion for the game. Those are the things you look for. Now, the rest is taking it to the field.”

Most quarterbacks improve significantly in their ability to read NFL defenses and run NFL offenses after their rookie seasons, but Shanahan said that even if Griffin doesn’t get any better, he’ll be one of the all-time greats simply by playing the way he played last season.

“If Robert plays like he did [in 2012] the rest of his career,” Shanahan said, “he’ll go down as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.”

That’s high praise, but it’s not unreasonable to think that Griffin can be a truly great player. Which is why Shanahan’s No. 1 priority has to be making sure Griffin gets healthy and stays healthy.