Keenan Robinson is entering his second year as a starting inside linebacker for the Washington Redskins and his fourth season overall. The former Texas standout had a team-high six tackles in the 24-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Are you still having fun or is it more a job?
"It's probably more fun now than it's ever been. The fact that it's not guaranteed, the opportunity I have can be taken away anytime makes it more fun for me. Every time I go out there, it can really be my last, so I go out there and have fun each and every time and try to make the best of every moment."
Is that because of what you went through with injuries and the "next man up'" philosophy?"I think it's more so what I've been through. I never got hurt really, even in college, but I think the injuries and missing significant time really changed my mindset. It made me really not take it for granted and really appreciate every opportunity I've been given, and appreciate the game for what it really is. For me, it's just the opportunity to go out there and have fun. I've been blessed with athletic abilities and talent and I get to use it every day and I get paid for it. For me, it's the best job in the world. I like to have fun while I'm at work and this is the perfect opportunity and place to do it."**
There were lots of changes on the defensive staff but inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti stayed. How important was that?
"It helps a lot because last year, he brought different kind of coaching theories to the LB room. He basically taught us more fundamentals and more technique work that we were able to carry over to the field to make us better players. You know, at this level, everybody's good, but what separates the good from the great is fundamentals, the little things. I think that's one thing K.O. really stresses — to try and make us better players and better linebackers in the long run. He already knows what kind of guys we are. Me and [Perry Riley Jr.], he knows what kind of players we are, he knows how to coach us. He knows how to get the most out of us."
What about being in the final year of your contract? Thinking about it?
"In my eyes, I know that it will take care of itself. All I can do right now is play. I still have one more year on my contract. This is the last year obviously. I still have to do my part and continue to prove why I'm here and why I'm the starting linebacker for the team. I just want to put forth my best effort each and every week. The money and the contract situation will take care of itself.
If I'm supposed to be here next season, I'll be here. If not, I'll be somewhere else.
Right now, I'm just focused on winning games and trying to make this '15 Redskins team the best that we can possibly make it. You never know. Last year, Seattle struggled early on and they hit their right stride and they won a bunch of games to make the playoffs and the Super Bowl. Where we are right now, I'm just really focused on winning games. I'm tired of losing. I'm tired of being unsuccessful. I want to build a program and be a part of a successful program and I think we have the opportunity."
A countdown of the top-10 images of linebacker Keenan Robinson during the 2014 season.
Was your 2012 or 2013 season-ending injury tougher?**
"It was much harder to miss the full year. When I got hurt [in 2012], I was so anxious to get back on the field and as soon as I got back [in training camp in 2013], I hurt it again. It was kind of disappointing, but at the same time it was definitely harder to miss the whole year than play 10 games and miss the rest of the season."
Are you a leader by example or is there a more enthusiastic, louder version of Keenan Robinson?
"My guys know especially during the week, I'm trying to lead by example. I'll say different things, trying to hype the guys up a little bit. Game day, I don't say too much but where I do my leading is by my play on the field. And then when it's third down and 3, we need to get off the field and give the ball back to our offense, I'll say something then. That's where my vocal leadership comes.
As far as being a rah-rah guy before the game, I really don't say too much. During the heat of the moment, I'm probably the doing the most talking out of anybody on the field and that probably holds true last year and this year as well. I'm usually the guy doing all the talking and that's with opponents or my guys as well."
Your college program, the Texas Longhorns, are in trouble. Is it painful to watch?
"It's tough. Once a Longhorn, always a Longhorn. It's tough to watch those guys suffer right now. We've had all the success in the past, and we know how it feels to get there. We feel like we should have the players and the talent to get it done, but something is not clicking, so it's tough watching these guys. I think that eventually we'll get it right, but how long will it take and who will be the person there to get it done."
You got married over the summer, and I assume you are planning a family, would you want your son to play football?
"I probably wouldn't mind my son playing football. I just want him to pick and choose any activity he wants. It doesn't have to be football. I would encourage him to play multiple sports. If he wants to play baseball, basketball, football or run track. Do whatever you want. That's how it was when I was a kid. If my son wants to play football, then let him play. If he doesn't, then he doesn't have to play. I'm not going to be mad at him either way."
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