It would be a stretch to say Jeff Robinson knew he would experience a rebirth of his football career at the age of 37 after he, his wife and baby moved to Seattle.
But it's happening...again.
A career snapper, who last played tight end for the St. Louis Rams in 2005 before retiring in mid-season, the Seahawks signed him last year on Dec. 11 to replace Boone Stutz for the final three regular season games and two playoff games.
But once the season ended, he dove right back into "5focus.com," his wife's health and wellness business on Lake Union, along with chasing their baby around.
Little did he know the Seahawks would come calling again on Tuesday, and Wednesday he became their snapper when Tim Lindsey was waived with an injured back after sixth round draft choice Tyler Schmitt was placed on injured reserve with a back problem as well. A fourth round pick of the Denver Broncos in 1993, Robinson-now 38-has played in 184 career games.
"What a gig he's got," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "He missed all of training camp. He reminded me he's practiced as much as (starting center) Chris Spencer. He's a very funny guy. It's good to have him back. He's a good snapper."
Last season, the Seahawks struggled with snappers, first with Derek Rackley and then Stutz. Seahawks special teams coach Bruce DeHaven has known Robinson for many years, coached him with the Dallas Cowboys, and considers him perhaps the most consistent snapper he's ever coached.
Whereas last year Robinson was shocked and had to be talked into it by DeHaven, this time around he was semi-ready mentally since he was following the Seahawks, and is even better condition-particularly without the rigors of training camp. So the phone call Tuesday, while not expected, certainly wasn't shocking under the circumstances.
"I feel good, I'm happy to be here and I'm glad they gave me the opportunity," Robinson said. "I'm sorry that a couple of guys before me got hurt and had to go, so I'm happy to be here for sure. I was a little bit more prepared this year than last year to say the least. I'm still working with our business and chasing around my little girl. I worked out a little bit more than last year and just been having some fun living.
"It worked out pretty well (with no camp). I don't like training camp. I don't know anyone that does. I'm glad I'm here this week and hopefully get some of the kinks worked out Friday (against Oakland) and be ready to go for the season."
That's the plan, anyway. Robinson says he's in even better shape this time around because he is more mentally prepared and the family business - specifically his wife and the lifestyle they lead together.
"I feel really good," Robinson said. "I think it helps that my wife is a registered dietician and a physical therapist. She's a big reason I've been able to play as long as I have, and the reason why I feel as good as I do. Ask me tomorrow or Saturday, it might be different. We'll see. I'm certainly not young by any stretch of the imagination. I feel really good. If I didn't feel really good, I wouldn't be here."
He also wouldn't be here were it not for the limited numbers of snappers available. It's one thing to be a snapper in college, where defensive linemen are no longer permitted to hit snappers before the straighten up after the snap.
Essentially, it allows for any player on the field to do it, regardless of size.
"First of all no one wants to do it," Robinson said. "Kids don't grow up in the backyard dreaming about being a long-snapper. That's part of it. The biggest thing lately is, the shift from when I was a rookie a long time ago when players that did something else but could kind of long-snap. And then it became specialized. They changed the rule in college so those guys couldn't get hit. So all those guys are 210, 220 pounds and they can't hold up (in the NFL). I think that's the biggest reason. I don't think there are a lot of guys that can do other things athletically on the football field that snap anymore."
Now we'll see how long he can hold up. Born in Kennewick and raised in Spokane, the 6-4, 250-pound Robinson was a superb tight end at Idaho and was productive with the Broncos. He has a great sense of humor, helps with the leadership in the locker room and really exemplifies a "pro's pro," that focuses on getting the job done and enjoying every minute being part of the whole.
Come Friday night with the Raiders coming to town, he'll be back at it again after a decent start Wednesday. The constant transition is certainly running Holmgren ragged.
"It's been an adventure, I'll say that," Holmgren conceded. "The way you learn is, if you get one that you like, try and keep them, and pay them. If I was a collegiate lineman, I would practice that all the time. You need a little bit of size in there, depending on how big your defensive players are, but if you can become a good snapper, you have a good job for a long time."
Mike Holmgren on what quarterback Matt Hasselbeck told him was the cause of Craig Terrill's strained back that kept him out of practice Wednesday. Keep in mind Terrill is the Seahawks resident musician - a rock guitarists and singer.
"I'm not sure what he did. Hasselbeck said he tried to pick up an amp, so I told him I've never been more disappointed in a player in my whole life!"
This and that
Holmgren said the knee injuries suffered by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and quarterback Charlie Frye in Monday night's game were bone bruises and not serious. Frye may very well play at least some of Friday night's game with the Raiders, although Seneca Wallace could start. Free agent rookie Dalton Bell is also expected to see action. Tatupu will not play, but the bruise is expected to be healed just fine in preparation for the regular season opener at Buffalo on Sept. 7. To put it mildly, Holmgren was happy neither had a serious injury, particularly Tatupu, the All-Pro middle linebacker. "He's very important to this football team. In preseason, they have to play and get ready to go, but you just kind of hold your breath all the time. Last week, there were some really good players that got hurt [around the NFL] and you just hope it doesn't happen to you."
Holmgren said center Chris Spencer will see his first game action of the preseason. He has been practicing since Monday, but hadn't played in pads since tweaking his back the Thursday before camp got into full swing. Holmgren also said he hopes that rookie defensive tackle Red Bryant will play Friday night for the first time in the preseason since having arthroscopic knee surgery,...Retired Seahawks guard Chris Gray threw out the first pitch at Wednesday afternoon's Mariners-Twins game at Safeco Field. Gray, 38, holds the team record with 121 consecutive starts, but retired the second weekend of camp after suffering a spinal injury.
Due to the holiday weekend, fans traveling to the Seahawks game against the Oakland Raiders on Friday, August 29, can expect heavy traffic in downtown Seattle and throughout the SODO area. Fans are strongly encouraged to arrive at Qwest Field at least 90 minutes prior to kickoff to avoid parking delays and overcrowding at the gates. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Touchdown city will open at 4 p.m.