Robbins return coincides for offensive rebound


Nine months after drawing the wrath of his teammates, Oakland Raiders center Barret Robbins returned to the starting lineup in a 34-31 overtime win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday in Oakland.

            Robbins return to the lineup coincided with the Raiders best offensive performance since beating the Tennessee Titans 41-24 for the AFC Championship, the last meaningful game Robbins played when the Raiders accumulated 375 yards of offense. Oakland (2-2) tallied 468 total yards Sunday.

            "I thought I played really well," Robbins said. "There's definitely some things I can improve but I thought I came out with a lot of intensity."

            Robbins went AWOL the night before the Super Bowl and was suspended for that game. Robbins has since undergone treatment for bipolar disorder, depression and alcoholism.

He also underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee and came to training camp with no guarantee of a roster spot. Robbins was limited in training camp because of the injury and was inactive for the Raiders first three games.

"It was like a dream out there, being able to play again," Robbins said. "It was awesome. It felt great to be a productive part of this team, not just a cheerleader. It felt great to be out there in competition and in the line of fire."

Raiders starting left guard Frank Middleton, who was one of Robbins biggest critics, admitted having the Pro Bowl center in the lineup felt good."

"It was good, man," Middleton said. "We're still a little rusty but besides that it's good for the first one."

Robbins return to the lineup also coincided with quarterback Rich Gannon's best performance since the AFC Title game. That idea might lend more credence that Robbins is like Gannon's security blanket.

"He and I have been playing together for a long time," Robbins said. "There are a lot of things in that relationship that are unsaid. We're able to click on a level that's very high. We know what each other is thinking a lot of times."

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