LANDOVER, Md. -- Washington Commanders rookie running back Brian Robinson sprinted out of the tunnel and raised his right arm as he headed toward cheering teammates. The crowd saved its loudest cheer for a player who had yet to play a snap. It was more than just a player introduction; it was a celebration of Robinson's return from being shot twice exactly six weeks earlier.
Robinson was placed on the active roster Saturday and carried the ball a team-high nine times for 22 yards. He was expected to be Washington's primary runner before he was shot, though while still sharing duties with Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic.
Had Washington owned a timeout late in the game, Robinson might have turned out to be a hero. The Commanders had a first-and-goal from the Tennessee 2-yard line with 19 seconds remaining, but without a timeout they couldn't afford to run the ball.
Robinson was shot twice in his right leg during what the police report called a carjacking or attempted robbery on Aug. 28. He needed surgery and was placed on the non-football injury list. But doctors told him he did not suffer structural damage to his knee, allowing him to have a faster recovery.
He returned to practice Wednesday.
"I feel good, man," he said. "It's just being back out on the field. I mean, the ups and downs, but today everything finally came into the light. I'm just so blessed to be back out there with all the fans, the team, everybody involved."
Washington coach Ron Rivera said Robinson's return affected him "tremendously." Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz said seeing Robinson run out of the tunnel was emotional.
"Everyone was pretty fired up just to see him back out there," Wentz said. "Seeing him run out of the tunnel and the fans' reaction, it gives me goosebumps. We're all excited to have him out there. ... Guys were happy to see him in the huddle."
Robinson has said multiple times how much he appreciated his teammates' support during his recovery -- from the time he was shot to now.
"They showed me nothing but love," Robinson said. "I felt that today."
McKissic said he texted Robinson shortly after the incident and told him, "Your story is going to be amazing."
"Just to see him back on the field, it's amazing," said McKissic, smiling as he discussed Robinson. "You only want to see a guy like that do well. His time is coming."
"Now that part of it is over," he said. "We know he is ready to roll."