Farewell, Adrian Robinson, you were our great, undrafted hope

USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers traded a legend who never was when they dealt OLB Adrian Robinson to Philadelphia.

Fare thee well, Adrian Robinson. You may go down as the best outside linebacker who never really played for the Steelers.

His stats rival those of former second-round flameout Alonzo Jackson, but no fan will speak ill of Robinson. Before Jarvis Jones was drafted, it was Robinson who was considered (right or wrong) the heir apparent to the Throne of Silverback.

Like former Steelers OLB James Harrison, Robinson was a small college undrafted free agent. He was working his way up the ladder. Since the media attention in 2004 (Harrison's first year) wasn't anywhere near what it is now, fans didn't get on the Harrison bandwagon until a few years now.

We weren't going to make that mistake again.

Robinson was immediately given status more befitting of a higher draft pick expected to contribute his first season. We discusssed ways he may get on the field his rookie season, outside of a special teams contributor. We talked about how he'd make Harrison expendable.

Some lobbied against the selection of Jones because Robinson - not Jason Worilds - could supplant Harrison at the premium right outside linebacker position in this defense. The same spot held by Joey Porter before Harrison was Robinson's for the taking.

So much for aspirations.

Perhaps we know better now, which is why we haven't made a bigger deal over Alan Baxter. Perhaps Robinson really is a diamond in the FieldTurf. Something clearly did not click this training camp, however. A first-hand report filed for Behind The Steel Curtain by beat reporter Dale Grdnic mentioned Steelers coach Mike Tomlin yelling at Robinson for not showing an appropriate level of effort.

Maybe that was just a random instance, but we weren't hearing the same accolades attached to Robinson as we did the prior year. Some of that might be attributed to the selection of Jones, and our "Next Thing Now" mentality that consumes most die-hard fans.

Maybe it was all purely financial, and the decision snaps Adrian into a new level of motivation. Perhaps he spends the next 10 years punishing quarterbacks and running backs who all look like Tomlin to him after the ball is snapped.

We won't know, but we do know this; Adrian Robinson followed the trail of the undrafted James Harrison, and made us all believe for a second the Steelers could churn out another undrafted free agent badass.

So, let's start talking about Baxter again.

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