Focus on: Michael Robinson

Posted Oct 22, 2013

Healthy again after a medical scare and tired of watching the Seahawks play on TV, veteran fullback Michael Robinson rejoined the team on Tuesday and set about restarting his NFL career.

How glad were the Seahawks to have Michael Robinson rejoin the team on Tuesday?

“Marshawn (Lynch) almost cried when he saw Mike Rob walk in,” practice squad wide receiver Ricardo Lockette said before he, Robinson and Percy Harvin all practiced with the team for the first time in varying degrees of time.

So the leather tool belt that his teammates gave Robinson a few years ago to acknowledge the veteran fullback’s workman-like approach to his thankless role – making lead blocks for Lynch – is back where it belongs: Hanging in his locker at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

“It feels awesome to be back,” Robinson said. “You miss Sundays. You really do. … It’s great to be back; great to be back in the building and get back to work more than anything.”

Robinson had his contract terminated on Aug. 31, when the Seahawks were making the necessary moves to reach the league-mandated 53-man roster limit. It was a business decision, and one that Robinson understood. But it also was rooted in the illness he was battling, which caused his weight to drop from 245 pounds to 212 and put him in the hospital a couple of times.

First, the business decision. “I’m a realist,” Robinson said. “I knew they drafted a guy (Spencer Ware). I knew they were high on Derrick (Coleman). And I knew I needed to be on the field to keep my job. I knew what my salary was. I know the business of this game. I knew there was a big chance I’d be let go.

“Pete (Carroll, the coach) and John (Schneider, the general manager), they did a great job of communicating with me. They were very upfront when they were cutting me. We were in there talking and they said, ‘Mike, we know it’s going to come a point down the line when you’re going to be healthy and we’re probably going to need you. If the opportunity presents itself, we’re going to come get you. You’re part of the family. You’re part of us. You helped us start this thing.’

“It just felt really good to know an organization feels that strongly about you.”

As for the medical side of his scenario that helped delay the return, Robinson said, “It was bad. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I was able to look back and reflect on it.”

Robinson was dealing with kidney and liver specialists at the University of Washington during his recovery.

“I was taking (a prescription anti-inflammatory) drug,” he said. “You’re supposed to take it two times a day and I was taking it as prescribed. But I think I was dehydrated before the (Denver preseason) game and you can’t take those medicines and be dehydrated. I probably got sick at the same time.

“They just said it was a perfect storm. I felt like I was just getting the flu. Come to find out it was real bad; liver, kidneys almost failed. It was pretty bad.”  

But Robinson knew the call he was awaiting from the Seahawks might be coming as he watched Thursday night’s game against the Cardinals in Arizona, where Robinson lives. He knew Ware was out with an ankle injury – which led to the rookie being placed on injured reserve to clear a roster spot for Robinson. He saw Coleman go out with a hamstring injury. He also saw rookie tight end Luke Willson line up at fullback in the second half.

“My initial reaction was to text them,” Robinson said. “The next day I got a text from John (Schneider) asking me how I feel and am I ready to come in.”

Robinson’s answers: Great, and definitely.

“I’ve been feeling really good, other than not playing,” Robinson said.

When was the last time he felt this good in October? That question did what countless middle linebackers have been unable to do: Stop Robinson in his tracks.

“Wow,” he said after a pause. “Probably 1998, ’97. Something like that.”

That’s when Robinson was 15 or 16. Before he became a star at Varina High School in Richmond, Va. Before he played quarterback at Penn State. Before he spent his first four NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Before he signed with the Seahawks in 2010.

It was Robinson’s wife, Shameka, who knew it was time for her husband to get back to work.

“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 go run into some trees or something.’ ”

No need for the trees around VMAC to fret. Robinson could have a date with middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, the Rams’ leading tackler, in Monday night’s nationally televised game in St. Louis.

“Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Robinson said when asked if he was up to that task of lead blocker. “Let’s go get some. Yeah.”