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Thursday, September 7, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Kirk Cousins officially became king of Redskins Park this week.

They gave him a throne.


The workplace “nook” that Cousins received from Redskins management inside the facility may not look like a throne — but make no mistake about it, the “work place” set aside for Cousins represents his throne.


AUDIO: Redskins running back Chris Thompson with Thom Loverro


Kirk Cousins had a special request. The Redskins accommodated him.

That’s what they do for kings at Redskins Park. If he wants a nook, he gets a nook.

As the 2017 Washington Redskins get ready to open the season Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field, the man with the power inside the building is Kirk Cousins.

He’s the one who has taken the franchise tag — originally a tool by ownership to keep control of players — and turned it on its head, forcing the Redskins to pay him $44 million over last year and this season, when, based on the long-term offers they made to the quarterback, Redskins owner Dan Snyder would have rather stuck needles in his eyes than pay Cousins $44 million.

Cousins, though, forced his hand — like a king collecting a feudal tax.

It’s a fairy tale of sort — the pauper becoming the prince, the servant becoming the boss.

Why? Because he was a second class citizen — a serf, if you will — to the previous king of Redskins Park.

Robert Griffin III used to rule there. He decided what music was played in the weight room. His family got driven by the owner’s limo to games.

Now? Griffin is the king of nothing — out of league as the season is about to open.

Cousins may end up with a million dollars for every time he had to publicly defer to the former monarch after being drafted three rounds behind Griffin in the same 2012 class.

Sept. 13, 2012: “I think this is Robert’s team,” Cousins said during his first training camp. “The coaches have made that very clear. It’s my job to do the best I can in my situation and in my opportunities. And that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Dec. 16, 2012: “I told him (Griffin) whenever he’s ready to come back, it’s his,” Cousins said after leading Washington to a 38-21 win over Cleveland while RGIII sat out with a knee injury. “I’m just trying to help this team win and get to the playoffs.”

Dec. 11, 2013: “Robert is the franchise quarterback here,” Cousins said after coach Mike Shanahan shut Griffin down for the rest of the season. “”This is his team. My job is to help this team get a win.”

Sept. 14, 2014: “This is Robert’s team,” Cousins said after taking over for an injured Griffin and leading the Redskins to a 41-10 victory over Jacksonville. “My job is to be the backup quarterback and, if called upon to come in and play, then I better play and help this team win. That job doesn’t change. This is Robert’s team.”

Time after time, Cousins made it clear: He was the hired help. RGIII was the king.

Now Griffin is in exile, unable to find even the backup role that Cousins filled while he was Griffin’s designated stand-in.

Even for someone has pious as Cousins, there has to be a sliver of satisfaction in his soul about how things have turned out, particularly considering how heavy-handed Griffin was in exercising his rule, and the reported tension in the quarterback room that they shared during their time together.

Of course, even though Griffin no longer has a kingdom, he hasn’t stopped issuing decrees from his 140-character throne — his recent proclamations on Twitter include, “You gotta love the grind” and “When they not respecting your name let it motivate you.”

Ironically, Cousins has his own motivational quote posted in his nook — his throne.

It’s from Muhammad Ali: “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

“I thought it was a fitting quote for what that room should be,” Cousins told reporters.

Cousins has won one fight — by knockout. On Sunday, he begins the fight to keep his crown.

Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.


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