Robinson took rocky road to Super Bowl

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
5:00
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Michael RobinsonAP Photo/Jeff RobersonThere were no tears when Michael Robinson met the media on Monday afternoon.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson might be the luckiest player here at Super Bowl XLVIII.

In mid-October he was a man without a team, facing retirement. Two months before that he was in the hospital, with a failing liver and kidneys.

But come Sunday he'll be on the MetLife Stadium turf, trying to lead his Seahawks to their first Super Bowl victory.

"[It's] very special to be here," Robinson said Monday. "It's what you've been dreaming about since you were 5 years old. You've gotta love it. But our goal was not just to get here, the goal was to win it."

The trouble started during training camp. Robinson missed the Seahawks' third preseason game with what the team called a virus at the time. He later revealed that he wound up in the hospital because of a bad reaction to prescription anti-inflammatory medicine.

"I didn't know that my kidneys were failing, my liver was failing," Robinson said. "I had no idea. I thought I was just getting a bug."

Robinson, who lost more than 30 pounds during his ordeal, returned for the Seahawks' final preseason game. But the team cut him before the start of the regular season, going with younger, cheaper options Derrick Coleman and Spencer Ware at fullback.

[+] EnlargeMichael Robinson
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesThe emotional toll of the 2013 season caught up with Robinson after the NFC title game.
The Tennessee Titans brought Robinson in for a workout in early September. The New York Giants, who lost fullback Henry Hynoski to a season-ending shoulder injury, expressed interest but signed John Conner instead.

"I was gonna give myself a deadline probably of Week 10 or Week 11," Robinson said, "and then if I didn't get anybody biting, I was just gonna back out and call it a career."

Fortunately for him, the Seahawks' beat Robinson's deadline -- barely. Coleman and Ware both went down with injuries, and by that point Robinson had his weight back up and felt healthy again. Being cut by the team he had started for the previous three seasons had stung, but not enough to stop him from snapping up this second chance.

"I wrestled with it," Robinson said. "But it was easy when I looked at my relationship with the guys. That's why you play this game, and I feel like a big reason why we're here is because every man in that locker room thinks the same way. We all play because of the guy next to you."

Robinson re-signed with the Seahawks on Oct. 22, made his season debut six days later, in Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams, and picked up right where he left off -- as the lead blocker for Marshawn Lynch and a contributor on special teams.

Robinson, 30, was spotted crying after the Seahawks' victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, and was asked about it on Monday.

"The tears coming down, man -- I've gotten a lot of questions about me crying," Robinson said. "I had a long year, man."

His head coach, Pete Carroll, was asked about it Monday.

"He is a big factor on our team, because we don't have that many older guys, and he kind of stands for the old guard a little bit," Carroll said. "You could see the emotion come out -- Mike, he's a guy that thought, 'Maybe I'll never get this chance again.' And then he comes back to play, and then he gets the chance to be in the Super Bowl. I totally get it, and respect it."

The Seahawks have just six players on their active roster age 30 or older. Robinson is one of them, and he takes his leadership role seriously, both on and off the field.

The ex-Penn State quarterback was willing to change positions to make it in the NFL and help his team. And he has made sure he's prepared for life after football, getting involved with a vending machine company and a debt consolidation business, in addition to a potential media career. (Check out "The Real Robinson Report," his online sports show.)

"As I talk to young guys in this league, [I say] I think you should treat every year at the end of the season like it's the end of your career," Robinson said. "Cause it could be."

Maybe the Seahawks are the lucky ones to have a player like Robinson in their huddle.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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