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Brian Robinson reflects on recovery, return to practice

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Brian Robinson called himself "the king of adversity" because of everything he has gone through in his life. He never thought he would face a situation where it was questioned whether he could play football again. 

"That was probably one of the lowest points I've ever been in my life," Robinson told reporters Wednesday. 

It has been 38 days since Robinson was at the hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to his right leg. Five weeks might seem like a quick recovery from the injury, but for Robinson, it has been a long path full of highs and lows. On top of working to get back on the field, Robinson had a lot of time to reflect on many things, including his life and how fortunate he was to be in a situation to actually play again.  

And there are several things Robinson learned about himself. He gained a better understanding of how strong he is and how hard he is willing to fight to play the game he loves. 

"I could pretty much fight anything I'm up against," Robinson said.

The gunshot wounds that Robinson sustained in late August required him to have surgery, but it could have been much more dire. There was no major damage to his ligaments, meaning that with time and rehab, Robinson could return to the field.

Once the doctors told Robinson the news, his mind "automatically clicked" into what he needed to do to make that a reality.

"Just listening to the doctors and the trainers and everybody who's been in my circle helping me," Robinson said. "They've done everything they possibly could to get me to this point, and I'm just thankful for all of them, honestly."

"It's a lot of work," Robinson said, to get to the point he is at in his recovery in five weeks. Still, Robinson backed up his claims to attack his recovery. Just 18 days after being shot, he was on the Commanders' practice field doing agility work with a sleeve on his right leg. He would also stretch with his teammates and ride on a stationary bike while the team went through individual drills.

Robinson was on the field with the rest of the running backs a week later. He did not participate in the drills, but he did watch as his teammates worked though practice. However, prior to the Commanders' game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Robinson was running routes on air and catching passes from assistant running backs coach Jennifer King.

On top of his own determination, Robinson was encouraged by the support he received from the team and fans who rooted for him since he first sustained his injury.

"That was all I needed at the time," Robinson said. "People probably didn't know that was all I needed at the time was the love and the care and the respect from the situation I was in."

All that work led to Robinson being designated to return to practice on Wednesday ahead of the Commanders' game against the Tennessee Titans. His day included individual work and about "eight to 10" plays, according to Rivera. During that portion of practice the media was allowed to view, Robinson showed much of the same quickness and talent he put on display in training camp.

"I was just so happy to be back out there," Robinson said. "I was excited. And I'm a high football energy person. I'm excited when I'm on the football field, regardless of if I was coming off of an injury or what not. I was just excited to be back out there."

Ron Rivera said that he could see Robinson gain confidence as he went through the day, and it showed in how he practiced. During one particular drill, Robinson had to run through a series of bags before sprinting back to the beginning of the drill, which involved some change of direction.

The movement did not seem to bother the running back, and after the drill was over, Robinson pointed to the sky in gratitude.

"I was forced to do a few movements in that drill that I wasn't completely confident in before walking out on the field," Robinson said. "So, after doing the drill, it just helped me gain more confidence in myself. So, by the time I finished that drill, I knew that I was at least where I needed to be, if not a little bit further, as far as the progress I made."

Technically, Robinson could play against the Titans on Sunday. That would be great, Robinson said, but he wants to focus on one day at a time, and for now, the fact that he is back on the field is enough for him.

And he has a message for anyone going through a difficult situation: "Never give up on something you truly believe in."

"You just got to fight," Robinson said. "You got to fight till the end, fight until the finish. Just keep fighting away until you know the time comes."

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