RENTON — After three seasons as Marshawn Lynch’s lead blocker, as a special teams standout, and as a respected leader in the Seattle Seahawks locker room, fullback Michael Robinson was unceremoniously dismissed seven weeks ago, one of 22 names on a list of players released before the start of the season.
Robinson did nothing wrong to earn a pink slip. He was let go because he was expensive, by fullback standards, and because a mysterious illness benched him for two weeks leading up to the start of the season.
So naturally Robinson held a grudge, right? Of course he had some ill will toward his former employer, which decided his Pro Bowl resume, leadership and toughness were expendable in the name of salary cap space, right?
Wrong. Seven seasons in the NFL and being cut by two teams has taught Robinson what just about everyone learns at some point if they spend enough time in the NFL.
“If you think there’s loyalty in this game, that’s your fault,” Robinson said Tuesday after rejoining Seahawks. “It’s business, you’ve got to understand that. If you’d have asked me that question five or six years ago, there’d have been some (animosity). … When I left San Francisco, I was upset. Very upset. I felt like I was done wrong, didn’t really understand the business side of it then. But now you just understand and move on from it.”
So when the Seahawks called Robinson following their Week 7 win over Arizona, a game that saw starting fullback Derrick Coleman go down with a hamstring injury that is expected to sideline him for four to six weeks, the former Seahawk was more than happy to return to the team that fired him less than two months earlier. Robinson certainly didn’t want to be cut, but he also understood why he was.
“Well I’m a realist, so I understood that I had two preseason games, I knew they drafted a guy (Spencer Ware), they were high on Derrick, and I knew I needed to be on the field to keep my job,” Robinson said. “I knew what my salary was, I know the business of this game, and I knew there was a big chance that I would be let go. I was just hoping and praying for an opportunity to be able to come back and come to work.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that even after releasing Robinson, he knew there was a good chance at a reunion, and he’s glad that Robinson was able to get healthy and be a part of this season.
Robinson has “done a lot of great stuff for us,” Carroll said. “He’s been here from the beginning and been a fantastic contributor, so when he went down, we weren’t sure what was going to happen, we were concerned. At the time we had to make the move that we made, but with the thought in mind, the long-range thought, that we would get him back and he would contribute to this season.”
To understand just how big a deal Robinson’s return is in Seattle’s locker room, consider that Lynch, a notorious avoider of interviews, had something to say about Robinson being back.
“I like it,” Lynch said while walking away.
In addition to expressing his excitement for being back in Seattle — “Oh man, it feels awesome,” he said — Robinson also shed some light on the illness that caused him to lose more than 30 pounds and required two trips to the hospital.
Robinson woke up on the day of Seattle’s second preseason game thinking he had the flu, but it turned out to be a reaction to Indocin, an anti-inflammatory he had been prescribed.
“I was taking as prescribed, but I think I was dehydrated before the game, and you can’t take those medicines and be dehydrated,” he said. “Then I probably got sick at the same time — they said it was the perfect storm. I felt like I was just getting the flu, then came to find it was real bad. Liver and kidneys almost failed, it was pretty bad.”
Robinson’s second trip to the hospital lasted a few days while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong. He is now back to his playing weight of 245 pounds, and said he’s ready to play — Carroll said they’re counting on him playing Monday in St. Louis — and apparently it’s good he’ll have an outlet for some aggression.
“My wife was telling me all the time I started getting real aggressive wrestling with the kids,” Robinson said. “She was like ‘go put on a helmet and run into some trees or something.’ I definitely missed it, more than anything just being around the guys in this locker room. We’ve got a lot of great character guys in this locker room, and that’s what you miss more than anything.”
Receiver Golden Tate started Tuesday’s practice but was unable to finish due to soreness in his shoulder and neck, Carroll said. The foot injury Tate suffered in Thursday’s game, however, is no longer an issue. … Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who has missed two games with an ankle injury, did not practice, but is progressing well, Carroll said. … Safety Jeron Johnson, who injured a hamstring Thursday, did not practice.
On his injured tackles, Carroll said Russell Okung is “doing really well” in his rehab and should make it back when he’s eligible to come off injured reserve/designated. The soonest Okung can play is Seattle’s Nov. 17 game against Minnesota. Breno Giacomini, who is recovering from knee surgery, is progressing a little slower than they had hoped, Carroll said, and there is no timeline on his return.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.