ASHBURN -- The big step wasn't the passes he attempted or the handoffs he executed on this bright, sunny day. It was how Robert Griffin III felt after practice. And that's where the optimism lies for the Redskins.
Griffin said he feels, well, normal.
"I haven't had any symptoms," Griffin said. "Practice went good. I felt sharp. I feel good. No dizziness or off-balance or things of that nature."
Griffin still hasn't been cleared to play Sunday. After practice he endured another round of tests before speaking to the media. He will have to repeat this process for the next few days. But he was able to participate in practice, and though he did not take all the reps with the starters, he did take enough. So his status might not be fully decided until Saturday, but Griffin and the Redskins know that he will play barring a setback.
"For me there's never a doubt," he said. "You always feel you'll be ready to go."
Said Redskins coach Mike Shan?ahan: "So far so good. Something could happen Saturday right before the game. You don't know. Each day we'll monitor him, and if he feels good, then we're going to go."
Griffin has been in this situation before. Last November, he suffered a concussion in a game for Baylor. He returned, though he had not been diagnosed with a concussion yet. After coming out following the next series, his condition worsened, and he did not return. But Griffin played the following week and, as he reminded everyone, "beat Texas."
"It doesn't make you less aggressive, but it's a learning lesson," he said. "The one thing I learned is I can't do that to my team, the fans or my family. Life is more important than the game of football. These things that happen, getting hurt and getting hit in the head, affect us down the road. I have to make sure I limit that. I have to make sure I keep myself safe while still being the same player that I am, keep myself safe so the fans and my family aren't let down."
Griffin was hurt with 6:22 remaining when he fled the pocket to his right on a third-and-goal from the 3-yard line. As he turned the corner, it was evident Griffin had no shot at scoring or gaining yards. Rather than run out of bounds or even throw the ball away, he kept running and attempted a late slide. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon drove his shoulder into him and caused the concussion.
"If I slid a half-second earlier, I would have been safe," he said. "I tried to get down too late, and he had already launched. At that point it was a matter of absorbing the hit, and I absorbed it the wrong way."
Griffin said he was fine 15 minutes after the hit, showing no symptoms. By then he was already told his day was over. The lesson, though, was learned. Griffin knows that he needs to take better care of himself. During practice Wednesday, he ran out of bounds on a play and imitated a slide.
"I got a huge cheer from the team," he said. "It's not about being soft. I don't have anything to prove to anybody. Everyone has let me know that. Everyone knows I'm a tough guy. I promised I would get up from hits like that, and I did get up."