Wednesday figured to be busy in these parts because NFL free agency officially opened at 4:00 p.m. Reaction from current and ex-Redskins about strong comments from Chris Cooley about the relationship between Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins surprisingly shared the spotlight. One of those players, Ricky Jean Francois went the extra yard to meet with Cooley face-to-face.
This wasn't a scene from the O.K. Corral or anything. Cooley and Jean-Francois spoke on ESPN 980's "The Drive" in cordial though direct tones after the former tight end turned radio host addressed the fast-rising controversy.
“I made a point, a couple points,” Cooley said. “I’m not coming off of them. I’m not looking for an out. We can talk about them. We can discuss them. But I believe them. They’re my opinions. They’re not given to me by anybody inside [the Redskins’ organization]. They’re the way I perceive things. If you look at this organization, you look at a lot of the players in this organization, a lot of times you can say, ‘This is probably what’s happening.’ And it’s what I do on a daily basis. I’m not looking to get out of this situation.”
Cooley emphasized a point he touched on Monday that, although he didn’t believe Griffin and Cousins had a “friendship relationship,” they were still able to have a professional relationship. When Jean-Francois later joined the show, he agreed with that sentiment, stating that Griffin respected Cousins as a professional.
“If you’re inside this building, and you work with us each and every day,” Jean Francois said. “As long as you respect the man that’s next to [you], that friendship junk: it doesn’t matter. Like, all of us don’t hang with each other when we go out the building.”
Griffin, the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year, lost his job to Cousins before the start of the 2015 season. He didn't play a snap all season.
"He took [being benched for Cousins] the right way," Jean Francois said.
Cooley resolutely stated, and reiterated, that he was merely giving his opinion on the radio show, which is his primary job. He also felt that certain media personalities, which he refrained from naming, were acting less than fair in selecting which pieces of the Monday show they transcribed and shared on social media.
He argued that too much focus was placed on the negative aspects of what he said about Griffin. Cooley also stated that he didn’t understand why certain points he made on the Monday show were met with such a strong response.
“I said that Robert and Kirk weren’t friends,” Cooley said. “I don’t think they were. I also don’t think it matters. I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
From a big picture context, the powerful lineman offered a Mark McGwire-esque suggestion for all locally 48 hours after Griffin's release.
"Let's let RG3 go," Jean Francois said. "Let this man go on with his career. Let's close the book on RG3. He grew from a boy to a man. He grew as a ball player. Now, wherever he goes next, let this man be successful. Let's not talk about the past." He also added, "I believe [Griffin] gonna be a successful quarterback."
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