Browns are 'evaluating' Robert Griffin III for this season and 2017

BEREA -- Robert Griffin III will be playing for more than just a single win this season if he returns to the Cleveland Browns' starting lineup.

He'll be playing for his future in Cleveland.

"Yeah," coach Hue Jackson said Tuesday, "if he [Griffin] plays quarterback, we're evaluating him to see if he can be the quarterback."

Griffin was cleared for full contact late Monday night and will be full go in practice next week. He has not played since breaking his collarbone in the season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jackson said he would not decide whether Griffin, Josh McCown or rookie Cody Kessler will start against Cincinnati on Dec. 11 until he sees next week's practices. The Browns have a bye this week and are off until Monday.

"There's still things that we need to do and see before I decide to stick him back out there," Jackson said.

Those things, he said, would be practice, getting in rhythm with the offense and showing he's ready to play after missing three months of football.

"Beyond blessed to have an opportunity to get back on the field with my brothers," Griffin said in a statement released by the team. "I promise my teammates and coaches to give them everything I have as we work to finish the season strong."

Jackson said any team's success on offense "starts with the quarterback." The Browns turned to Griffin in March and gave him a two-year, $15 million contract. The deal includes a $750,000 roster bonus in March; if the Browns don't pay the bonus, Griffin becomes a free agent.

"I'm always looking to see who's going to be on the team as we move forward," Jackson said. "Every game we play. We're still evaluating our team as we go through it."

Griffin will have to play better than he did in the opener. The team committed its entire offseason and training camp to getting him ready, and he went 12-for-26 for 190 yards with an interception in a 29-10 loss. Griffin was injured on a scramble late in the game and has not played since.

"I think there are a lot of guys who are eager to see what he can do," left tackle Joe Thomas said. "He didn't really get enough opportunity to really prove what kind of QB he can be in this system."

Jackson said Griffin's durability -- he also had knee and ankle injuries while in Washington -- will "no question" be part of the decision on Griffin's future in Cleveland. Vice president of football operations Sashi Brown brought up the durability issue when discussing Griffin in a meeting with the media Nov. 14.

"You've got to throw everything in the pot and then make a decision," Jackson said.