WASHINGTON — Robert Griffin III openly relished in Mike Shanahan’s 2013 firing, Santana Moss informed Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan, adding yet another chapter to a book that, two years removed from Griffin’s time in Washington, still has not been completely written.
Since his playing days, which culminated in 2014, Moss has alluded to more going on behind the scenes than what met the eye, though, to my knowledge, he’s never come out and said it so matter-of-factly. To the best of my knowledge, no player from that troubled time at Redskins Park has come out and said what Moss told Dukes on Monday.
“I feel like [Mike Shanahan] was robbed of having more years and having more time with that team,” Moss said in May 2016.
“I remember talking to [Dan Snyder] before the season started, before they had the draft, and he asked me questions about [Griffin],” Moss said in Feb. 2016, recalling the first time the Redskins owner expressed doubt about Griffin’s ability. “And you could just tell how concerned he was. Can he do some of the things that he asked me? And I’m like, ‘Yes, he can do it, but he has to show it.'”
And then there was the whole ‘the ball was in his hand last’ kerfuffle, stemming from a Nov. 2013 loss at Philadelphia — a game which ended on a fourth-quarter Robert Griffin interception. Those remarks, Moss clarified a day later, and then once more three years later.
The story picks up in 2013. Moss, then 34, was nearing the end of his career, but believed he still had another three seasons left in the tank, thanks to a choice conversation with then-head coach Mike Shanahan.
“I’m gonna move you to the slot, because I feel like I can go more out of you long term if I put you inside and give you less reps,” Moss recalled that conversation.
That season, Moss says, there was “a whole big dilemma in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, and just in our building, that the man, Mike Shanahan, and RG is not seeing eye to eye. You know, we don’t know. We’re players. We sit back and let things be done.”
“Before you know it, RG’s not playing,” Moss said. Shanahan benched Griffin for the final three games of the 2013 season. “I’m not sure if that was his whole plan, but when the whole thing went about, we hear that Mike Shanahan’s not coming back the next year, then we hear the quarterback like, ‘Hey. Mm hmm.’
“Like, basically saying that you got me out of here not playing last year, the last few games, then that’s what happens. You get fired.”
“You can’t do that,” Moss said. “One thing I’ll just share with you: God don’t like ugly. So the little credit that he did take for saying that, ‘Hey, they didn’t like what I was doing,’ or ‘they benched me and not allowing me to play,’ that’s what happens.”
“So 2014 comes, and Jay Gruden comes in, and he don’t care,” Moss continued. “We see that now. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care what he says about you, he doesn’t care what he says at you.
“And he rips RG every chance he gets, like every meeting, and we’re sitting there looking like, ‘Yeah. You know what? You were just so happy that Mike and Kyle and them is gone, but now you’re getting your behind ripped every day, because you’re not playing the kind of football that we need to play for us to be successful.'”
“So it comes back and bites you in your behind,” Moss said. “Because now you see this guy is at home. And, to be honest with you, I give it to you raw. I don’t know no other way to give it to you — raw and uncut, I always say that.”
The Browns released Griffin, after one season, in March.
“I was saying to myself that, as much as I love you as a person, bro, as much as I know from how you came into these doors, that was the dumbest mistake you could ever make in this league,” Moss said. “Because it’s one of those brotherhoods.”
“To gloat about getting somebody fired,” Dukes interjected.
“Yeah. You can’t do that,” Moss said. “You can’t do that.”
“I don’t want to ever see somebody… I mean, you see guys coming in and out of those doors — as players, as coaches, as members of the team however, trainers, staff members, period — and you don’t like to see them go, because you know that’s taking something off their plate,” he added. “So, I live by that. God don’t like ugly. So try not to be in those shoes, to be the guy to reap off of someone’s downfall.”
Dukes then prodded about how often players represent themselves one way publicly, but then act differently behind the scenes.
“You know what, you don’t see it a lot, because you don’t know what the guys do at home,” Moss said. “You see the guys all day in the locker room; you don’t know who they are outside the locker room.”
“I’m gonna speak about myself before I speak about anybody,” he said. “You can call up 10 guys from 2001, my years playing [for] the Jets, to 2014, and I promise you they won’t tell you anything different. I promise you. Because that’s me. That’s my makeup. At the end of the day, I’ve always took care of guys, regardless of who they are.”
“I had a guy came to a practice of mine in 2013,” he began an aside. “He was like, ‘Bro. Remember me? Such and such. This is my family.’ And he told his wife and the kids, like, ‘Man. Look. This boy was our star. He came in, first-round pick, and he treated every guy on the practice squad like they was his equal.’ That’s how you’re supposed to do it, because at the end of the day, who am I?
“I’m in this position for a reason. It was granted to me because of my hard work, because of my dedication, because of all the things I prayed for, and I went out there and I did it. That don’t make me no bigger than you.”
And how does that relate back to Griffin? “I can say that you saw one thing, and then you heard another,” Moss said.
“I might have thought that he treated everybody kindly, because of what I saw,” he said. “But then you bump into too many people that say, ‘Hey. I don’t know. I don’t know about that guy.'”
“In this industry — and I feel like this is where it’s similar to your industry — you can never gloat about somebody getting fired,” Dukes said. “Because it can be your [butt] next.”
“That’s the number one wrong thing to do,” Moss said. “And that’s the only thing that ever bothered me as a player. It bothered me to this day because I said something about it. That goes to show you about how much it bothered me.”
Moss clarified he was referring to these aforementioned remarks, made two days after that loss to the Eagles.
“For me to share that with you,” Moss said in present time. “It was bothering me, because I never forgot it. Because these are the one guys that believed in what I was doing, and how I was doing things, and said, ‘Hey, this is what I’m going to do to take this off of you and allow you to be able to be here more, and longer, so you can be the player that I want you to be.’ And then these guys are gone for doing nothing.”
“I just feel that I was always bitter about it because I saw it live, that these guys was gone because of one guy,” he said.
“You know, who knows? I feel that a lot of stuff goes into play when it comes to who gets fired and hired,” he added. “It’s all about numbers. But, regardless of what went on when it came down to those decisions of why those guys was gone, it was almost like that was on him, that he took that to say, ‘Well, hey. That’s what happens when you mess with me.’ And that’s how we felt. We saw it live, in person, up in front.”
Moss told one other fond memory of Shanahan during the segment, about being chewed out by the coach for showing poor body language on the field in 2013.
“Good coaches know when a player’s not being himself,” Moss said. “And I’m like, ‘Look. I’m wide open and I’m not getting the ball. Last year, I did this 10 times.'”
“He was chewing me out because he thought I was laying an egg,” he said. “And I’m sitting here like, ‘You got me effed up, because I can promise you I’m only getting two or three reps on a drive, so you think I’m gonna go out there and put that on film? No!”
“He told me, he said, ‘I need you to be who you’ve been. Be the guy, don’t show this. Because if you show this, everybody else, they’re gonna partake in the same thing you’re doing.'”
“I was so upset to where you saw it in my play, you saw it in my walk,” he said. “I walked off the field like, ‘I don’t care!’ And that’s not me, that’s not what I have demonstrated to these guys for so many years.’
“To this day, I think about him,” Moss said. “Like, man, I appreciate Mike Shanahan, because you don’t get coaches like that.”
“When Jay came in, it was a rude awakening to some people,” he said.