Robinson: "Whatever it Takes"

With the NFL Draft mere days away, Penn State's Michael Robinson wants to make one thing perfectly clear: Despite rumors to the contrary, he is not hell bent on playing quarterback at the next level. In fact, he spent much of a Wednesday afternoon teleconference with PSU beat writers refuting the reports.

“I don't know where that 'I just want to play quarterback' thing came from,” Robinson said. “I never said that to anybody. I'm more than willing to do whatever it takes to be successful in the NFL. Don't get me wrong; I'd love a shot to play quarterback. But that's all I can ask for.”

Robinson redshirted as a true freshman at Penn State, then spent the next three years playing tailback, fullback, receiver and quarterback. He focused solely on quarterback in 2005, and led the Nittany Lions to an 11-1 record and Big Ten title by accounting for a school-record 3,156 yards of total offense. He was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Year.

After playing in the Senior Bowl, then attending the NFL Combine, then returning to State College for the Penn State Pro Day and to work with a personal coach, Robinson has gotten all sorts of feedback on where he might fit at the pro level.

“If teams want to play me at tailback, I can do that,” he said. “If teams want me to play quarterback, I can do that. Receiver? I can do that. Teams have expressed [an interest in him playing] some safety. I tell them, I will gladly go out there and play it, but I haven't played safety since high school.”

He can also serve as a kickoff or punt-return man. He joked that one team asked if he could handle center: “That's the only position I can play.”

Not being sure where he'll be asked to play in the NFL has not been a problem from a physical preparation standpoint, Robinson said, because “to me the positions aren't that different. To me, I'm a physical runner, I'm a physical football player.”

He did, however, spend time working out with a personal coach, former Kansas City Chiefs assistant Jason Verduzco, to improve his passing skills.

Robinson's been hearing he can go anywhere from the second round to the fifth. With that said, he is not taking any of it to heart, because he knows “the NFL is so much of a chess game and people put up a lot of smokescreens. I have no clue.”

As recently as two weeks ago, Robinson had the train of thought that he would be insulted if he did not go in the first two rounds of the draft. “I just don't think there are 70 players out there who are better than me.” Since then, however, he has talked to former PSU All-American receiver Kenny Jackson, who also had a long NFL career, and came away realizing he just needs to “get a foot in the door.”

So if he goes much later than he hopes, he'll be able to cope with it.

“That's what I'm preparing for, the worst-case scenario,” he said. “At Varina High School in Richmond, Va., I had to struggle and show people I could play. When I got to college, I had to struggle and show people I could play. The same situation is happening in the NFL. I talk to scouts all the time, and they say the league survives off players who always have to overcome things.”

No matter what position they play.

And in Robinson's case, he wants to send an unmistakable message that he'll handle whatever his next team throws at him.

“Yeah, if this was a perfect world and I had control of everything, I would want to play quarterback,” he said. “I feel that's where I can help the team. But if a team doesn't feel that way, I'm not going to fight them. If they draft me, I'm going to play where they need me and play the best football I can play.”


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