A New Season Brings Renewed Optimism For Robinson

Aug. 5, 2010

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ST. LOUIS - All too often in professional sports, one hears stories about players who have a lot of potential but injuries got in their way of having a breakout season or sticking with a particular team. Over his first three seasons in the National Football League, former Illinois State All-American wide receiver Laurént Robinson has seen this story play out in his own career, but that is something he is looking to change in his fourth season in the NFL and his second with the St. Louis Rams.

After a record-breaking collegiate career at Illinois State, Robinson was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He competed in 15 contests (six starts) with Atlanta and recorded 37 receptions for 437 yards (11.8 avg.) and one touchdown as a rookie and seemed to be off to a promising start to his professional career. However, in 2008 Robinson played in only six games due to injury and was then subsequently traded to the Rams on April 8, 2009.

Robinson was once again healthy and had a lot to prove with his new team and quickly moved into the starting lineup. Robinson started in the first three games of the season and was leading the team in receptions with 13 for 167 yards, when he fractured his fibula on September 28 and was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the 2009 NFL season.

"It was pretty frustrating for me because I was doing well at the time," Robinson said. "Watching from the sideline hurt even more, because I couldn't be out there with my team and I felt like I was letting them down. But, that is all in the past and I'm going to turn over a new leaf for the new decade and help my team win anyway possible."

After a long offseason of rehab and training, Robinson is back on the field with his teammates at Rams training camp, which is held at the team's practice facility in Earth City, Mo. The time and repetitions put in on the field are crucial for all the players, but even more so for players like Robinson who are mounting a comeback from injury and playing for a spot in the starting lineup on Sundays in the fall.

"We have to invest in this time, because we can't get these days back," Robinson said. "We're getting the plays down and developing a rhythm with the quarterbacks. We have to give it our all every day, execute the plays when they are called and when the ball comes my way, I have to make the catch."

The health issues have seemed to pass for Robinson and ill-effects from his broken leg were not visible on the field during a recent team workout. Several publications and websites are predicting a breakout season for Robinson, who hopes to finally cast off the injury bug and have a standout season for the Rams.

"I hope to have a great season, but I'm going to practice every day with the same attitude of making every play," Robinson said. "Hopefully, when the game comes I can continue to make plays like I did at the start of last season. The NFL doesn't stop for anybody. I got hurt last year and time just kept going and the plays kept running, so I just have to stay focused."

Coming out of Rockledge, Fla., and a powerhouse program at Rockledge HS, many could have predicted a solid collegiate career for Robinson. What he did was go on to become one of the greatest wide receivers in Illinois State and Missouri Valley Football Conference history, which earned him his new day job in the NFL. Despite his professional success and lifestyle, the always-humble Robinson never forgets where he came from and who he is out on the field.

"Just going to Illinois State was a great opportunity for me," Robinson said. "I never heard anything about the university growing up in Florida, but when I got there I fell in love it. They blessed me with an opportunity to play football and go to school, and I made the best of it. Now I'm playing to represent Illinois State every day on the field."

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