Robinson's Confidence Rises with Four Receptions in Preseason Opener
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Gijon Robinson never lacked confidence.
He always believed he could play in the NFL, and always thought – given a chance – he could be a contributor on an NFL roster.
But believing is one thing; showing, another.
That's why Robinson was smiling a bit more than usual on Sunday night.
Because for a long time he had believed in his ability.
And on Sunday night, he showed it at last.
"It's a very reassuring thing," Robinson said this week during Colts 2008 Training Camp, which continued on Wednesday with a pair of practices at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
"It's reassuring that you come out here and practice hard and you practice like you play."
Robinson, a first-year veteran tight end who spent last season on the Colts' practice squad, caught four passes for a game-high 49 yards in a preseason-opening loss to the Washington Redskins in the Hall of Fame Game this past Sunday night.
"Gijon did a great job," Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said. "He blocked at the point of attack well and caught the ball well. That was a performance we were really glad to see."
That Robinson blocked well was hardly a surprise. Dungy said this past offseason that blocking is Robinson's "strong suit" and the scouting reon Robinson when the Colts obtained him was he was a "great blocker," but "not sophisticated in the passing game."
"That's our hope, is that he can develop into that point-of-attack blocking tight end who can really be an all-around player," Dungy said in the offseason.
Robinson, who signed with the Colts as a free agent in the 2007 offseason from Missouri Western State, has shown signs of doing so in training camp, and did so early in the game against the Redskins.
On the Colts' first drive, Robinson – who started at H-back – caught a 17-yard pass down the middle from quarterback Jim Sorgi, a play that gave the Colts an early first down. He then caught a 10-yard pass on 3rd-and-6 on the drive, which finished with a 26-yard field goal by Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri.
After catching a four-yard pass on the first play of the Colts' second drive, Robinson later caught an 18-yard pass from backup quarterback Quinn Gray, a play that helped the Colts drive 65 yards for a 24-yard field goal on the final drive of the half.
"I can do a little bit of both (receiving and blocking)," Robinson said. "It really felt good. It was surprising that they came out and passed to me, but I know I can do it. We practice it every day, so I just have to go out and perform when it's time to perform.
"I feel I can catch it a little bit. I can't take (Colts starting tight end) Dallas (Clark's) spot. He's the man, but I do the best I can."
And while Robinson said he worked through the offseason with the idea of playing a role in the Colts' offense, to actually do so in a game was critical.
"It was very important," Robinson said. "You want to show your coaches and your teammates you can handle situations like that. It was very important for me to be able to stand up and show them I'm there for them and I can contribute to the team.
"I feel really good about my situation and in the same sense, it helps me and lets me know I have to continue to work on my techniques and work on the little things so it will take care of itself in big games."
And with that good feeling, Robinson said his confidence is higher than ever that he can do what he has wanted to do for the past year and a half – prove he can be a competitor on an NFL team.
"I want to do the best I can on this team and I want to be a role player on this team," Robinson said. "It made me feel good to know I can contribute to the team in some fashion.
"It makes me feel good I can go out and do that."