When you consider the path Mark Robinson took to the NFL, it is rather unfathomable. We’ve all heard the stories about Robinson, a former running back, joined Ole Miss as a scout team defender to eventually be a leading tackler on the SEC team his senior year. He turned that performance into a shot with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the 7th Round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
7th Round picks are often viewed as long shots to make any team’s 53-man roster, and Robinson realizes this every day. But don’t let that simple fact deter Robinson from realizing he is living his dream with the Steelers. Every day he wakes up and realizes him being with the Steelers is a blessing.
“Every day waking up, this is my dream job,” Robinson told the Steelers website. “I’m blessed to be here. I look forward to getting better. Just being in the building, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
While Robinson has been vocal about his transition from offense to defense in college, on thing he hasn’t spoken about often is how he felt as if every NFL, but one, didn’t believe in him, or his abilities.
“I definitely feel like every team besides this organization didn’t believe in who I was,” said Robinson. “But that is fine. I am here for the people who believe in me.”
Robinson’s journey to the NFL has been anything but smooth. However, something Mike Tomlin speaks about often is how trials and tribulations can mold a player/man. In this regard, the challenges which stood in Robinson’s way throughout his football career helped make Robinson the man who found his way onto the Steelers’ 90-man offseason roster as a drafted player.
“It was definitely challenging. There was never a time I thought I would be doing anything else in life,” said Robinson. “I knew one way or another, I just had to keep on working and God was going to have me. Having faith and believing in God. The way that I was raised, believing in who I am, knowing what I want in life, and working for it until I get it.
“I went through a couple of situations I had to go through in order to be who I am now. The chips were stacked against me, but I had faith and worked hard. You never know how it’s going to work out. But you believe hard work will pay off and it did. I had to trust in God. I knew who I wanted to be, but I didn’t know how to get there. He put me through some things, let me know who I am, so I can be prepared to be here. I am grateful for everything, the highs, the lows, the good, the bad, I am thankful for all of it.
“I know the work it took to get here. It took a lot for me to get here. I made it here and am looking forward to keep on doing it.”
Robinson’s story is one to be told repeatedly, but the question many want to know is how things are going for the 7th Round pick. How was rookie minicamp and mandatory veteran minicamp in his transition not just from offense to defense, but from the collegiate game to the professional game.
“The time we had was very valuable,” recalled Robinson. “Being in the locker room with guys. Getting a chance to see how they operate so we get a feel for how they are, how to handle business, how we should go about our business as a professional.
“I’ve already learned so much. Always take care of your body. Always come in with the right mindset. Stress pre-practice routines like stretching, warming up properly, just being prepared.
“I know what I bring to the table. I have to show up prepared so I can be the best me, put my best foot forward. Everything else will fall into place. I need to just keep taking care of my body, studying my playbook, just having the right mindset, believing in who I am and getting ready to show them what I can do.”
The process for Robinson has been a challenge, but if Robinson is anything it’s determined. You don’t get to where Robinson is now, with all that has been in his way, without a ridiculous focus and determination.
“When you have gone through a lot to be here, it’s different when you touch the field,” said Robinson. “It’s all smiles in the media and stuff like that. But a lot of nights and days lonely going through the process. It makes you different on the inside. It’s a different purpose for me. I know what I went through to be here. I never take it for granted. When I touch the field, I am going to give it everything I have got. I am going to run the fastest, hit the hardest, and let everything work itself out.”
Robinson will have his shot to show coaches, teammates and fans what he can do when the Steelers report to training camp at Saint Vincent College on July 26th, but in the meantime it is safe to say Robinson is a player who is easy to root for. Steelers fans love a good story, and if Robinson can work his way onto the 53-man roster, even as a special teams player, what a story it would be.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the offseason.