Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

MicrosoftTeams-image (22)

The following story was transcribed from interviews between Brian Robinson and the Commanders' content team.

I remember staying up that whole night in the hospital, wondering what was going to happen next, good or bad.

I couldn't help but feel disappointed, because I had worked so hard to get to this point in my life. From playing high school football in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to waiting my turn to show what I could do in college and getting the call from Coach Rivera, I had dreamt about playing in the NFL from the first time I was able to put that jersey on with my name on it. I realized that dreams are real if you put together the right habits and you know you have the right work ethic.

Now, that dream was close to being done.

I knew I was lucky to be alive. We're talking about gunshots. People die from gunshots. One shot. Anywhere. It can be in the strangest place on your body, and you can die from it. So, to take two, there's no way I can think that I'm not blessed to make it out of there. I still felt that disappointment right before the doctor told me the results, but I was also trying to stay positive about what could happen. Then he told me that there had been no structural damage, and I just felt relieved. I still didn't know how well that would go for me at the time, but I did have some moment of relief. At least I'd be able to walk again. At least I'd be able to run again.

Hopefully, I'd be able to return and play ball again.

Not even a week after the doctor told me the news, I decided I wasn't going to let what happened stop me from playing again. I didn't know how long it would take. I didn't put a timeframe on it or anything. I just went straight into my process, and I was determined and focused every single day on getting better. I felt like I was blessed, and I was rewarded for all the energy and work that I had put into my recovery. God gave me a chance to come back a whole lot earlier than I was really expecting to.

It was still a process. We still had ups and downs, and we're still going through it. I remember trying to hop up and down the stairs on my crutches while my mom was taking care of me. I'm a very ambitious, self-motivated person, and very independent. If I feel like I can do it, I'm gonna go for it. I wait so long to ask for help, and I try to put everything on my back, even when it's super heavy.

I knew I was gonna have to get back on my feet one way or the other. I didn't really want my mom or really nobody to be feeling sorry for me and feeling like they had to pull me back up. I wanted to show them that I had enough strength at the time to be strong.

But the people around me helped me get to the point I'm at today. My mom knew when to allow me to help and when not to. I appreciate her for just staying on me and just making sure I was doing stuff the right way.

I appreciate how much my teammates were there for me. I needed them more than they needed me at the time. When I showed up to the practice facility with the Oreos in my hand, I wanted them to know that I was still open to what we had started working on, what we had started building and that I was still committed to the relationships that we had started forming over the summer. I didn't want to put my head down, because I was determined to get back on my feet. That's the type of energy I needed around me. That's the type of energy I give out. I want people to feel like I'm happy and I'm excited, even when sometimes I'm not, because that's the energy that's gonna reflect around you, and that was the energy that I needed.

I appreciate everybody in that building that works with me every day. Like Mr. Al Bellamy in the training room. I got to spend a lot of very trying times with him and his staff, and it was great for me. Not only was he very helpful with my recovery, but he also has a great personality that really helped me mentally go through what I went through.

I remember standing in the tunnel at FedExField six weeks later getting ready for my NFL debut. That was a special moment for me. I almost had everything taken away from me before I even started. Even if I didn't gain one yard that day, it wasn't about that. It was about my presence, being able to live through what I had just gone through and also still live my dream of playing in the NFL.

Moments like that, the ones you get to share only with yourself, are moments that only you feel special about. Only you know how you feel and what you went through and why you feel the way you feel. But the moments with everybody else, like when I ran out of the tunnel with my teammates and the fans around me, everybody else around you feels it and acknowledges it. That's what makes you feel comfortable around your teammates. That's what makes you feel respected by everyone who's rallying around you at that moment. You see how many people care about you and your presence.

A few days later, I was told that I was going to be the starting running back against the Bears. I knew it was going to be a tough game, and at the time, I didn't really know if I was ready or not. I didn't know if I could make certain moves and cuts or make certain people miss based on how I felt at the time. But I was going to go out there and play my best.  

I actually went out there and did a lot better than I was expecting to. That was a perfect moment for me to show what I was bringing to the table for our team. I even scored my first touchdown, which helped us win the game. That was probably the most exciting part about it. I got my first start, and we got our first win. 

That was just enough for me to continue to gain confidence, and as the season went on, I got to show more of who I am. One of my favorite moments of the year was wearing the big hat after our game against the Falcons. While I was still working hard, competing and running for my first 100-yard game, I was able to enjoy life and show my personality and connect with people around the world just off doing something that I thought was funny. 

During that game, it just felt like I was growing. I was coming back into my own. Plays like the touchdown I had early in the game just sparked me up and got me rolling for the rest of the day.

Getting back to my old self is still a process. If anybody knows what it's like to get shot through your knee, it's very traumatizing. I feel a lot better today than I felt a month ago, two months ago, last year. And I'm continuing to take strides. It's all gonna come back together. Everything, slowly but surely. I can still go out and play ball. There's a lot of things you'll see me do that will make you say, "Oh, I thought he couldn't do that." 

I'm a warrior. I feel like I can stand my ground against anything I'm up against. If the battle finds me, I can fight it. That's just my mindset playing running back in the NFL. I want to be the best, so I have to continue creating the right habits on and off the field, investing my time correctly and sticking to my script.  

Everybody has their way of being who they are. I have to stick to my script and what makes me who I am. 

And to whoever is the first defender I see this season, remember this: don't run.

back to top

Related Content