Rams’ A’Shawn Robinson is ‘ready to go’ after long medical delay – Press Enterprise
THOUSAND OAKS — Finally, it appears, A’Shawn Robinson can breathe easy.
Robinson’s long wait to become an active member of the Rams will end when he boards the flight to Miami for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, where the defensive tackle could play for the first time with the team that signed him as a free agent last April.
Three of the six months since he joined the Rams from the Detroit Lions were spent waiting and working to get fit to play after the results of a medical exam knocked Robinson to the sidelines just as he was set to start training camp in early August.
“It was annoying, very annoying,” Robinson said Friday, speaking with reporters via Zoom for the first time since then. “I was excited being with the guys, everyone was excited, ready to get after it.
Exactly what happened remained unclear even after Robinson, 25, and Rams coach Sean McVay were asked about the medical issue.
Robinson said the diagnosis involved a “respiratory situation.” Asked if it was related to COVID-19, he said, “It was just things. Things that happen in life.”
“It happened in the past, and now I’ve moved on. I’m ready to go and I’m just excited,” Robinson said.
McVay, asked by a reporter if it was a cardiac issue, said it was “something in that arena” but wouldn’t go into specifics.
“Fortunately, and it’s a blessing, he’s feeling good and he’s ready to get back to full speed and be a big contributor to the Rams,” McVay said of Robinson.
Robinson, 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds, the Lions’ second-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2016, signed with the Rams for two years and $17 million.
After the medical diagnosis, he was placed on the NFL’s non-football-injury list, removing him from the roster for at least six weeks under league rules.
The roster moves were agreed upon by team management and Robinson’s agent. The medical staff monitored his condition until he was ready to start conditioning drills on the sideline of practice.
Robinson credited his family and Rams players and coaches for helping him to get through it.
“(Defensive coordinator Darrell) Staley would tell me, ‘One day at a time, get better. Chase today, treat it as you can beat this day. Don’t think about what’s going to be down the road, just think about what you can do now.’ It kept me in good spirits,” Robinson said.
When he returned to practice with the team on Oct. 22, he said, he felt like a dog eager to go outside and play.
“I was like, ‘Oh, gosh, I’m back on the field. I’m not there yet, but I’m close enough,’” he said. “I couldn’t stop smiling. I wanted to run around everywhere.”
Everywhere along the defensive line is where the Rams see Robinson playing, sharing snaps with All-Pro Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Greg Gaines and Morgan Fox.
General Manager Les Snead agreed to terms with Robinson during the week and a half in March when Brockers looked set to sign with the Baltimore Ravens.
McVay said the attraction was Robinson’s “versatility.”
“He’s heavy, but he’s got the quickness to be able to work edges on people. He can go through you,” McVay said. “I think he plays well (against) the run, and I think he does a good job in some of the known passing situations if he’s utilized as an interior rusher.”
Said Staley: “I’m certainly excited to have him back, and what a great story, him really just competing so hard to get back. It’s been a long journey. I’m just really proud of the way he’s competed to get back, and it’s never easy when you’re going through something like that.”
Robinson is expected to be put on the 53-man roster before the Rams (5-2) face the Dolphins (3-3) on Sunday. If he doesn’t play in this game, McVay said, he will return to action after the team’s week off.
Robinson said he feels ready to go and willing to do whatever the coaches ask to contribute to a team that is giving up the fifth-fewest passing yards and seventh-fewest rushing yards in the league.
“It’s a real brotherhood here. It’s very different from where I’ve been. This is where I want to be,” he said. “I’m excited to be back out there with these guys and get a chance to help them.”
Tight end Tyler Higbee was listed as questionable for Sunday after missing Monday night’s game and being limited in practice all week with a bruised left hand. “It will truly be a game-time decision” whether he plays, McVay said. … The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, one of the two biggest things happening in America that day. McVay said a trade by the Rams shouldn’t be expected. “We’re in good shape,” he said. “I do not anticipate any crazy moves – unless we have one.” … The Rams have 51 players on their roster, so no other move is needed to fit Robinson under the 53-man limit. …
With Donald among league leaders in sacks (eight) and forced fumbles (two) and generally terrorizing opponents, Jalen Ramsey was asked if the Rams defensive tackle is on track for a third NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. “He could win it every year, probably, in my opinion,” Ramsey said. “It’s starting to get to the point where everybody knows he’s the best, so no matter how great he does, people sometimes don’t look at it as, Wow, that’s amazing, because they’re getting used to it.” Ramsey said that as with Lakers greats Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, “It’s kind of expected, so it’s not glorified as much as it should be.” … Donald would tie Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt, the only three-time Defensive Player of the Year recipients.