View Full Version : Marcus Robinson - Senior has his moments

10-07-2006, 07:56 AM
Posted on Sat, Oct. 07, 2006

Senior has his moments (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/football/15700085.htm)

At 31, 'old man' Robinson leads Vikings in TD catches

Pioneer Press

Marcus Robinson is just 31 years old. But he might as well be an elderly Moses in the eyes of his fellow receivers.

Second-year receiver Maurice Mann remembered controlling a video-game figure of Robinson on his PlayStation in high school.

"That's crazy," Mann said. "I played with Chicago a lot, and he was my guy. I never thought I'd play with him."

Troy Williamson called Robinson a "grandfatherly" figure, based on all the wisdom he has imparted to the second-year receiver.

Even seven-year veteran Travis Taylor joked that Robinson is nicknamed "old man" and constantly pestered about the location of his cane.

But old school is showing up his new school counterparts in the only statistic that matters in football: touchdowns.

Two of Robinson's six catches this season have gone for touchdowns, and he averages a team-high 16.3 yards per catch.

This is no fluke; history is repeating itself.

In his previous two seasons with the Vikings, Robinson tallied 13 touchdowns, including a team-high five in 2005, and he has 41 touchdowns for his career.

Yet Robinson was viewed as expendable during the preseason, based on his $2 million base salary.

"You hear it, and it's frustrating at times," Robinson said. "You're like, 'Wait a minute. I led the team in touchdowns. It's got to count for something.' But you can't go by what people say all the time. If you do, it'll worry you. You got to realize what you do bring to the table."

That's plenty, according to his teammates.

Robinson is 6 feet 3, with long-striding legs that make him deceptively fast. Taylor guessed that most of his teammates didn't know that Robinson caught 84 passes for 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns in 1999. Or that he had 22 catches for 20 or more yards that season, including seven for 40 or more yards, figures that are on par with former Viking Randy Moss in his prime.

"A lot of people don't think he can do what he does," Taylor said. "But he ran track in college, and he's still fast. It doesn't look like he's running fast, but he keeps running by guys."

Raw but athletic (he caught just 37 passes at South Carolina), Robinson was drafted in the fourth round by the Chicago Bears in 1997. After spending his rookie season on the injured reserve, Robinson went to NFL Europe in 1998, and he led the Rhein Fire to the World Bowl championship, tallying 811 receiving yards and averaging nearly 21 yards per catch. He was selected the league's offensive most valuable player.

After a quiet 1998 season, Robinson broke out the next year, when he was chosen a Pro Bowl alternate and earned a four-year, $14.4 million contract from the Bears. He continued his dominant play in 2000, until ankle and lower back injuries slowed and ultimately sidelined him. Then, after rebounding at the start of 2001, Robinson tore two ligaments in his left knee in late October.

"It was really frustrating," Robinson recalled. "Then that's when people started saying, 'Is this guy going to be healthy?' "

Robinson learned a life lesson shortly thereafter. Upon his return, he complained that the Bears were breaking an unwritten rule, that a starter doesn't lose his job due to an injury.

"But that never changed," Robinson said. "So from there on, I was like, 'There's no need to complain.' The only thing you can do is control what you can control."

Robinson insists even now that he could have been a 1,000-yard receiver in Baltimore, where he played in 2003 and scored six touchdowns, and could be now with the Vikings.

"If given the opportunities," he said, "I can put up big numbers. I've done it before."

Robinson said he has expanded his game since the breakout 1999 season. Back then, he said, he only ran two routes. Now, he employs a wide range of routes, and he understands coverages.

Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson said he appreciates Robinson's experience and patience.

"He's easy to communicate with, as a quarterback, when things are going good, or when things are going bad," Johnson said. "He sees the whole picture."

Johnson recalled telling Robinson to be patient after he caught just one pass for 11 yards against the New York Giants.

"He was like, 'Cool. Don't sweat it.' He said, 'I know you're making your reads and going through your progressions,' " Johnson said. "He doesn't panic."

The next week, against the Cleveland Browns, Johnson and Robinson connected three times, all for touchdowns.

Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said Robinson is especially effective because he maximizes his size.

"He's just a playmaker down the field," Winfield said. "I can't think of anyone who catches the jump balls like him, except for Moss. They go up, keep the ball high, and us little corners can't get to it. It's tough for us to defend it."

But Robinson said the key to aging is knowing your limitations.

"I can do everything," Robinson said, "but if we're running a double route, and we want to get it done, put in Travis or Troy. Them guys are good with change of direction.

"M-Rob is not the quickest in and out of breaks like that," Robinson said of himself.

At some point next week, Robinson will do something else that will date him. He is returning to Peach County High School in Ft. Valley, Ga., which believes enough time has passed to make him only the second athlete in school history to have his jersey retired.

"My first year in the league, some of them hadn't even graduated high school yet," Robinson said. "But that's how it happens. You get old quick.

10-07-2006, 09:06 AM
Us old men don't do it often but when we do, we do it RIGHT!