There isn’t a single player on the Seattle Seahawks who’s played in a Super Bowl. There isn’t one who was less likely to play in this one than fullback Michael Robinson.
Even though Robinson played in his first Pro Bowl in 2011, and then had his best season in the NFL in 2012, Seattle released him on their final roster cutdown because of a debilitating illness that left him with kidney failure, liver failure, and 30 pounds below his playing weight of 240.
Robinson thought he was coming down with the flu after Seattle’s second preseason game in August, which, coincidentally, was against the Broncos. He told team doctors he thought he might need some fluids, and then ended up in the hospital on morphine to handle the pain before specialists finally figured out he was suffering from a reaction to an anti-inflammatory medication, Indocin.
Once they discovered the problem, Robinson recovered quickly. But he needed time to regain the weight he’d lost and work himself back into shape. Interest from the Giants and Titans dried up while Robinson prepared to play again.
He was thinking retirement when the Seahawks suffered injuries to both the fullbacks who’d replaced him, including teammate Derrick Coleman, and asked him to come back after Week 7.
“Michael Robinson was a great team member for us, but was really sick, and he lost his chance to make the team,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll explained on Media Day. “But he got well and, when we had the opportunity, we didn’t hesitate for a moment to get him back because of all of the intangibles he brings.”
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch rarely speaks to the media, but he did say this about Robinson’s return:
“He’s a mentor for me. He’s got a lot of knowledge about the game. He plays with passion. That’s something I can identify with, and that’s my boy.”
Robinson is eloquent in describing what being back means to him.
“You take for granted the opportunity to be able to put on that jersey and strap up that helmet,” Robinson said.
The guys on defense know what Robinson means to the club, as well.
“When you see that guy’s neck and how thick he is and how muscular he is, he has muscles in his nose, everywhere,” safety Earl Thomas said. “He lets Marshawn do what he does. Obviously, he doesn’t get a lot of credit, but he’s a Pro Bowler, and he’s very valuable to this team.”
If his illness had ended Robinson’s career, he was ready. As a quarterback at Penn State, Robinson was Academic All-Big Ten three times, and the conference offensive player of the year his senior season.
He also holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one in Advertising and P.R., and the other in Journalism, and he already has several business interests outside the game.
But to have come from near death at the beginning of the season to paying in the Super Bowl this Sunday, Robinson is very clear about how he feels.
“This just means the world to me,” he said.