ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson has been placed on the 53-man roster and will play vs. the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, six weeks after being shot twice in his right leg.
Robinson, who had been placed on the non-football injury list, was cleared to practice Wednesday. There had been optimism all week about Robinson’s chances of playing, especially after his right knee responded well after practicing each day.
It’s uncertain how much he’ll play and Washington does have other effective running backs in Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. Gibson has been the Commanders’ primary back for the past two seasons and has rushed for 173 yards this year, while averaging only 3.3 yards per carry. McKissic is their third-down back.
Washington likes Robinson as a primary between-the-tackles runner and could pair him in packages with either Gibson or McKissic, both of whom are pass-catching threats.
“You’ve got a good group of backs that rotate through and you try to find the matchups that you can exploit,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said.
Gibson is considered more explosive, but the Commanders like Robinson’s potential as a steady, consistent back.
“He’s got a really good feel in terms of being able to run the football,” Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan said. “There’s some certain things you can’t teach … and feeling where he needs to cut.”
The Commanders could use an offensive boost with rookie receiver Jahan Dotson already ruled out with a hamstring injury. Dotson has caught 12 passes for 152 yards, but leads Washington with four touchdown passes — all three of his red zone receptions have been for scores. Starting right tackle Sam Cosmi (right thumb) won’t play. Tight end Logan Thomas (calf) is questionable for Sunday.
Robinson was shot in his leg in what the police report termed an attempted carjacking or robbery while the rookie was going to a restaurant in the District of Columbia. He needed surgery on his right leg; doctors told the team there was no structural damage, allowing him to return sooner.
On Wednesday, Robinson said, “It’s been a long five weeks, you know, but it’s a lot of work. I did everything I needed to do over that time period to make sure I was here today.”