By John Boyle Herald Writer
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — When Michael Robinson walked off the field following the Seattle Seahawks’ victory in the NFC Championship, he did so with tears streaming down his face.
And while the fullback was hardly the only player to let his emotions get the better of him after the Seahawks earned a trip to the Super Bowl, it’s quite possible that nobody appreciated that victory more than Robinson.
When the Seahawks and Broncos meet in Super Bowl XLVIII, Robinson will be there as Seattle’s starting fullback, the man who helps pave the way for Marshawn Lynch in the running game, and also as a key special teams contributor.
Earlier this season, however, Robinson’s football future, and briefly his life, were in danger. During the preseason, Robinson was prescribed Indocin, an anti-inflammatory, which unbeknownst to him can cause serious side effects if taken while dehydrated. Robinson started feeling sick, and after what he thought was the flu wasn’t improving, he landed in the hospital. It took a return visit to figure out what was wrong, and by then Robinson was on the verge of kidney and liver failure.
“I went to the hospital three separate times,” he said. “Two times they sent me home and just told me to keep getting fluids. I went two weeks without eating, so I lost a lot of weight.”
With Robinson unable to play, and with Derrick Coleman emerging as a viable, and yes, cheaper, option at fullback, Robinson was released.
Robinson eventually made a full recovery, gaining back the 30 pounds he had lost, but was still out of work while playing a position that is increasingly less popular with pass-happy NFL offenses. Robinson kept working out and waiting for his chance, but he also realized that if work didn’t come soon, it might not come at all.
Robinson said his plan was to keep working towards a comeback until Week 10 or 11, but “If I didn’t get anybody biting by then, I was just going to back out and call it a career.”
There were discussions with the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans, but eventually Robinson ended up back in Seattle after Coleman suffered a hamstring injury. In a span of five months, Robinson went from hospitalized to cut to re-signed to the Super Bowl, So you’ll have to forgive Robinson for shedding a few tears on the CenturyLink field turf.
“I’ve gotten a lot of questions about me crying and all that type of stuff, but it was just that I had a long year being cut, being sick, not really realizing the extent of the sickness,” Robinson said. “I didn’t know that my kidneys were failing and my liver was failing. I had no idea. I just thought I was getting a bug. But again, hindsight is 20/20 and I’m glad I’m here now. I’ve got my weight back, got my strength back, and it was an opportunity to come back here and I’m glad it opened up.”
Robinson would also freely acknowledge that there was a business element to his release as well as a health-related one. He was scheduled to make $2.5 million this season, a pretty hefty total for a fullback, and Coleman was playing well enough the Seahawks might have tried to save some money even if Robinson had been available.
Now more than ever, Robinson knows nothing in football is guaranteed. He’d like to keep playing for a few more years, but he also refers to Coleman as the Seahawks’ future at fullback while raving about his competition.
So while there are players who will get more attention than Robinson this week, or who will have a bigger impact on the outcome of Sunday’s game, it’s hard to imagine anyone will appreciate playing in the Super Bowl more than Robinson.
“Probably there were moments when Michael thought he might not ever get another chance, so when we did come back to him and we were able to get it together and all, it was very meaningful for Michael,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He is a big factor on our team because we don’t have that many older guys and he really stands for the old guard. He’s been a big factor on special teams as well. You can see the emotion come out of Michael. He’s the guy that never thought, ‘maybe I’ll never get this chance again.’ Then he comes back to play and he gets to play in the Super Bowl.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.