Redskins' Cedric Griffin embarrassed by drug suspension

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Brian McNally

Cornerback returns but is unsure of status for Sunday

ASHBURN -- Redskins defensive back Cedric Griffin spent four weeks watching from the sideline at the absolute worst possible time. But he had no one to blame but himself.

Griffin was suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy last month. He missed wins over the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys after testing positive for the ADHD drug Adderall but is participating in practice and is eligible to be activated.

"Any time you face embarrassment in the public, it's kind of tough, but at the same time, it's how you come back," Griffin said Wednesday, speaking for the first time since his suspension Dec. 4. "I'm not really worried about what people say or what the media says. It was a fault on my behalf, and that's something I got to take up."

Whether he plays this weekend in an NFC wild-card game at FedEx Field against the Seattle Seahawks is another matter. Griffin has spent the past month trying to stay in condition. He has lifted weights and ridden an exercise bike and gone through agility and footwork drills. Fellow defensive back Josh Wilson jokingly pointed at Griffin's abs when he overheard the question from reporters about Griffin's conditioning. But those things don't necessarily define being in football shape, either, and Griffin must prove himself in practice this week. But his teammates are certainly happy to have him back.

"I walked in here yesterday and saw him. It kind of caught me off guard," defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. "I forgot that [Griffin] would be eligible to come back because during the run you're so short-sighted, you're only thinking week-to-week. He's played well for us, a physical cornerback that can definitely help us as we face this physical running team. That'll give us a big boost."

During his Wednesday news conference, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan made no firm commitment either way on Griffin's status this weekend. But there's also no question that Griffin was playing well at the time of his suspension. He provides much needed depth in the secondary for a unit that has struggled at times this season.

Griffin, 30, had played the previous six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before signing as a free agent with Washington in March. He had 33 tackles and one forced fumble in nine games before the suspension.

"I'm out there practicing, so I'm sure I'll be out there. I'm in pretty good shape right now," Griffin said. "Coach Shanahan feels comfortable about my situation. [Defensive backs coach] Raheem [Morris] feels comfortable. [Defensive coordinator] Jim [Haslett] feels comfortable. So as long as we continue to be in the right positions out there on the field, I'm sure we'll be making some good plays out there."

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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