Brian Robinson experienced the first test of his durability during the Washington Commanders' Week 5 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. At one point in the game, a Titans player delivered a direct hit on one of the sections of his right leg where he was shot in late August.
It was a hard hit that stung "a little bit," Robinson told Senior Vice President of Media and Content Julie Donaldson, but it did not bother him too much. For Robinson, the fact that he was not physically affected by the hit was a positive sign.
"That was the test that I needed. I was like, 'Okay, I'm glad that's over,'" Robinson said. "The fact that I can walk off the field healthy and come back...and get ready to do it all over again is pretty good."
Robinson feels like he just played a football game in his return to action, which is an experience he is grateful for after weeks of recovery. It was another step in a remarkable comeback story for Robinson, who led the team in carries (9) and yards (22) on Sunday. And while the game ended in a loss, making his return was a personal victory.
"I really can't really explain the feeling," Robinson said. "It's just being back out on the field. I mean, the ups and downs, but today everything finally came into the light. I'm just so blessed to be back out there with all the fans, the team, everybody involved."
Six weeks after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to his right leg in August, Washington Commanders rookie running back Brian Robinson was back on the field and made his regular season debut against the Tennessee Titans. Take a look back at his journey returning to the team.
Robinson's return to the field has been anticipated since it was announced that he did not suffer any significant damage to his leg after being shot twice. That energy was heightened even more when he was designated to return to practice by the team, and he showed throughout the week that he still possessed the talent he had in training camp.
"He had a good week," Ron Rivera said of Robinson Friday afternoon. "This morning, he was there and he was in good shape. So, we're pretty fired up."
The following day, Robinson was officially placed on the active roster.
"It's been a long five weeks, but it's a lot of work," Robinson said Wednesday. "We put in a lot of work over that time, and I could say I did everything I needed to do over that time period to make sure I was here today."
Robinson was not labeled as the starting running back, as the coaching staff wanted to ease him back into the system. However, the team did have a treat for him: he was the final player to run out of the tunnel, which earned a hefty amount of praise from the crowd.
Robinson considers himself to be "a tough guy," but he admitted to Donaldson that he was emotional as he ran out of the tunnel. The moment went viral on social media.
"That was great," Robinson said. "Feeling all of the energy from the fans, obviously everyone who missed the time I was gone. My teammates waiting on me at the end of the tunnel, that was one of those remarkable feelings. I can't even really explain it."
Robinson's teammates have given him their unwavering support throughout his recovery, and he could feel their love from the moment he first arrived at the hospital to the time he joined them near the middle of the field on Sunday.
"Honestly, they've been bringing all the energy that I've needed ever since the accident," Robinson said. "Since my first time coming back to see those guys at the building, they've just welcomed me with open arms and showed me nothing but love. They've just shown me how much they've appreciated my presence on this team, and I felt that today."
And his teammates were thrilled to have him back on the sidelines with them.
"He was ready," said wide receiver Dyami Brown. "He was ready to get back out there even like two weeks ago. Just having him out there, it's love."
Quarterback Carson Wentz said he got "goosebumps" seeing Robinson run out of the tunnel and hearing the fans' reaction.
"I think we're all excited to have him out there," Wentz said. "I know emotionally guys were happy to see him in the huddle."
Robinson said the support he received from his teammates and the fans meant "everything" to him.
"As soon as I started to feel the love from everybody, I started to believe I would be okay," Robinson said. "I had the ambition to fight back from it, but the love and support just kind of kept me motivated."
Robinson played 18 snaps against the Titans. He has always held a deep love for the game, but now that he is back, he has even more appreciation for anytime he is on the field.
"I've been playing the game for almost 18 years of my life," Robinson said. "It's just always been football to me. But now it's my life, and I realize how much that I put into this game and bonding through this game. It just means so much to me."
Robinson wants to put the past behind him and focus on what is coming next for him. Now that he is back on the field, he intends to keep making progress in his NFL career.
"I just wanna keep making progress, keep making strides in the right direction," Robinson said. "Coming in here, finding ways to get better, get my body feeling better, get more involved into the game plan week in and week out and just help my team win."