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RG3 downplays dad's visit to locker-room

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Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is sacked by San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith during the second half of the 27-6 Niners triumph Monday night.

EVAN VUCCI / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is sacked by San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith during the second half of the 27-6 Niners triumph Monday night.

ASHBURN, Va. -- RG3 stood up for RG2 on Wednesday, saying anyone criticizing the quarterback's father for being in the Washington Redskins locker-room "needs to back off."

Robert Griffin III said there was no underlying meaning behind his father's locker-room visit following Monday night's 27-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The two chatted at Griffin's locker before and after Griffin's news conference, fuelling more questions about the father's influence on the team.

"My dad came to check on me," Griffin said. "He came to check on me to make sure I wasn't injured. My mom was upset. He wanted to do his fatherly duties and he stepped in there to see if I was OK."

Griffin was sacked four times by the 49ers and was briefly in agony after getting kicked in the groin area on one play, but he never left the game and is not listed on the Redskins' injury report.

"Yeah, I was a little shocked that he was there, but he meant no harm," Griffin said. "And anybody out there that's going after my dad needs to back up. That is my father. I will protect my family. He served 21 years in the military -- I know that's not an excuse for anything that he does -- but he's not overstepping any bounds, so I hope people respect that and back off."

While it's not the norm, it's also not unprecedented for family members to be in the locker-room following a game, especially if a player has been injured.

The room is supposedly off-limits to anyone without proper credentials, but the NFL leaves it up to the individual teams to decide how to regulate the flow of people.

Robert Griffin Jr.'s appearance was noteworthy because he has been vocal about his son's role in the Redskins offence, saying in the spring he wants his son throwing more and running less. It also came after his son played poorly in a loss that dropped the Redskins to 3-8, far removed from their division title season of a year ago.

Asked about the father-son chat, coach Mike Shanahan said only the father thought the son was injured. The coach did not elaborate further.

The non-football distractions are clearly wearing on Griffin -- he even had to answer questions Wednesday about how often his linemen help him off the ground after sacks -- and he said the team needs to try harder to ignore such "outside stuff."

"It can be hard," Griffin said, "because some way or another, somehow, things just find their way to being right in front of your eyes. It's in moments like these we always say, 'Keep your head up,' but right now we have to make sure that we keep our eyes on the prize, keep our head down away from everything else, and really focus in on that tunnel vision."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 28, 2013 D10

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