SEATTLE — Michael Robinson’s teammates have called him Overton, a reference to the handyman character from the 1990s sitcom Living Single. They also compare him to Tim Duncan for his fundamentals. By the end of the season, there was even a tool belt hanging in the fullback’s locker.
Well now Robinson’s teammates will have something else to call the blue-collar fullback: a Pro Bowler.
Robinson will head to Hawaii next weekend in place of injured Packers fullback John Kuhn. Robinson, who came to Seattle last season after being released by San Francisco, is in only his second season as a full-time fullback having played quarterback and running back in college and running back with the 49ers.
“I’m still growing, I’m still learning the nuisances of the position, but I’ve grown a lot since last year,” Robinson said last month when he was named a Pro Bowl alternate. “Last year was my first full position at fullback in my career… To actually be a lead blocker on every down, there definitely was some hard work, but hopefully I can keep growing and just get better.”
Despite being relatively new to the position, Robinson excelled, helping pave the way for a resurgent rushing game, which after averaging just 77.7 yards through the first seven games, averaged 134.9 over the final nine. Running frequently behind Robinson blocks, running back Marshawn Lynch became Seattle’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2005 with 1,204 yards, and set a franchise record with touchdowns in 11 straight games. Robinson also served as a special teams co-captain and was leader in the locker room.
“We built the identity of the team through a fullback,” Lynch said. “That just goes to everything he does and brings to the team as far as his run blocking and his leadership in the huddle.”
Robinson will join safety Earl Thomas, who was voted the NFC’s starting free safety, in representing the Seahawks in Hawaii. Cornerback Brandon Browner and safety Kam Chancellor were also named first alternates, and Lynch a second alternate. Because players on Super Bowl teams don’t play in the Pro Bowl, all three could still go to Hawaii if San Francisco wins this weekend because the 49ers have Pro Bowlers at all three positions: running back Frank Gore, safety Dashon Goldson and cornerback Carlos Rogers. Adrian Peterson, the first alternate at running back, sustained a serious knee injury late in the season, so Lynch would be next up.