When the Redskins selected receiver Aldrick Robinson in the sixth round (178th overall), they knew that they had raw talent on their hands.
Robinson hailed from Southern Methodist University and was indoctrinated into the Run-n-Shoot offense, which traditionally doesn’t translate smoothly to the pros. But Robinson possessed game-changing speed, running a 4.35 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in April.
Rolling the dice on the speedster, Robinson got his first NFL opportunity in the second half of the first preseason game against Pittsburgh. Back deep to return a punt, Robinson literally let opportunity slip through his hands–twice. He muffed two consecutive punts, and that was his last appearance on the field.
“I was just too anxious to play I think,” he said after the game. “I was running before I had the ball, looking downfield to see who I gotta make miss, before I even caught the ball. Basically I was trying to establish myself as a playmaker before I could even catch the punt.”
Robinson surmised at the time that his coaches had lost all trust in him, and that he would need to seek every opportunity to regain that trust. At the end of training camp, he was stashed on the practice squad, left to find what few opportunities he could after everyone else.
“With my first opportunity, I obviously didn’t do what they wanted me to do, so I came out every day at practice and tried to show promise,” he said today. “I just kept going out there and working hard. Things just worked out for me.”
Indeed they did, as the Redskins announced his promotion to the 53-man squad on Tuesday, following the release of running back Ryan Torain.
Robinson described this moment as a “late Christmas present,” but he understands that the hard work starts now.
“It was kind of like a new beginning, and it was great to know that they wanted me back on the team,” he said. “I’m feeling and looking more comfortable out there, and it definitely rebuilt the trust with my coaches. It shows that they have some plans for me in the future.”
But no matter how excited Robinson is, he admitted that he can’t be more ecstatic than his family was to hear the news.
“Oh yeah, they’re too excited right now. They think it’s the best thing in the world,” he said, shaking his head. “But I’m just letting them enjoy it, and I’m staying focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. Hopefully I can show the Redskins something and build into the future.”