Defensive end Brian Robison quietly has carved out a solid NFL career: Nine seasons, 131 games, 75 starts, 44.5 sacks, 264 tackles.
“I think anytime you come into the league, you hope you can play that long, but you never know exactly what’s going to happen, especially when you look at the staggering statistics that most players last only about three years in this league,” Robison said in a phone interview. “Anytime you can have a career as long as I’ve been able to have, you feel very blessed and very happy about it.”
Better still, Robison has played for only one team. The former University of Texas standout has made a second home in Minnesota, whose Vikings drafted him in the fourth round in 2007.
“We love it here,” said Robison, who makes his off-season home in Tomball. “It’s amazing summers here. Obviously, the winters aren’t ideal, but when you spend that much of your life in one place, it definitely becomes a second home. We’ve been blessed to meet a lot of great people here that we’ll have lifelong bonds with.”
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On his third contract with the Vikings — a four-year, $22.4 million deal that runs through the 2017 season with $13.2 million guaranteed — Robison has begun a foundation to give back to his home communities in Minnesota and Texas.
For more information about Brian Robison, his Reel ’Em In Foundation and his charity fishing tournament benefitting K9s4Cops at Lake Fork in April, go to brianrobison96.com.
He recently started The Brian Robison “Reel ’Em In” Foundation, teaming with existing charitable organizations. He and his wife, Jayme, chose K9s4Cops as their 2016 partner.
Robison, an avid fisherman, will host a fundraising fishing tournament at Lake Fork in East Texas on April 9-10. All proceeds will benefit K9s4Cops, Robison said.
“This has been in the works for a few years,” Robison said. “My wife and I really struggled to find a cause that was close to our hearts. Over the years, we’ve tried to experiment with some things, and we’ve done a lot of stuff, helping my teammates out. This year, we really wanted to make it a deal where we could start our own foundation. We’ve been blessed to be put in a position to do that.
“It allows us to not necessarily be locked down to one thing. We can choose every year, or if we find a cause we end up loving, we can stick with that. It gives us the freedom to do a lot of different things.”
Fishing isn’t just a hobby for Robison; he refers to it as a passion.
My wife and I really struggled to find a cause that was close to our hearts. Over the years, we’ve tried to experiment with some things, and we’ve done a lot of stuff, helping my teammates out. This year, we really wanted to make it a deal where we could start our own foundation. We’ve been blessed to be put in a position to do that.
After his playing career, Robison hopes to become a professional bass angler. He has competed in semipro tournaments and has several sponsorship deals already.
“I’d like to get a little bit more time on the water when I’m done playing, and figure things out a little bit more, learn some things,” Robison said. “At the end of the day, yeah, I would love to try to be able to pursue that.”
For more information on Robison’s fishing tournament at Lake Fork, visit www.brianrobison96.com.
Lechler, Campbell meet again
It first dawned on Shane Lechler that he had been in the league a long time when Dennis Allen became his head coach in Oakland. Allen hosted Lechler on his recruiting trip to Texas A&M back in the day.
Lechler, in his third season with the Houston Texans, now faces his old A&M roommate, Miami Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell.
7 Pro Bowl selections for Texans punter Shane Lechler, who also has been chosen first-team All-Pro six times.
“Dennis was kind of the first deal, and now Dan is a head coach, so it’s like, ‘All right, Shane, you’re getting old,’ ” Lechler said in a phone interview. “It’s getting a little awkward.”
Lechler and Campbell roomed together for three years in an apartment near campus, along with Seth McKinney and Billy Liucci. McKinney played eight NFL seasons for three teams, making 46 starts, while Liucci became co-owner of TexAgs.com, a popular premium website for Aggies sports fans.
Lechler and Campbell traded text messages when Campbell was named interim coach Oct. 5 after the Dolphins fired Joe Philbin. Last week Lechler sent Campbell a congratulatory text after Miami’s victory over the Tennessee Titans.
“And I’m looking forward to seeing him this weekend,” Lechler said, “but I don’t wish him too much luck this week.”
In his 16th season, Lechler has become one of the top punters of all time. His 47.4 average ranks as the best in NFL history.
“When I first got in, of course, just like everybody, my first goal was to make the team,” Lechler said. “The good thing about it is I had such good guys around me early in my career — Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Rich Gannon, a bunch of real pros — and kind of learned from them and what it takes. Once you get the map, it’s are you willing to do it? I knew with my background of my family and knowing the game of football, this is all I know. I don’t know what I would do without it.
“I can tell you this: I’m not looking forward to hanging it up anytime soon.”
My five cents
1. Sean Payton’s name has surfaced on the rumor mill for jobs in college (USC) and in the NFL (Miami and Indianapolis). Payton, who downplayed the rumors last week, has a contract through 2017 that pays him an NFL-high $8 million per season. That’s almost a million more than the highest-paid college coach, Alabama’s Nick Saban.
2. Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, in the final year of his contract, takes full blame for the botched fake punt last week against the New England Patriots. He should. Griff Whalen, the center on the play, never practiced it. He served as an injury replacement for Clayton Geathers and didn’t know the audible added for the play. Colt Anderson, under center on the play, was supposed to try to draw the Patriots offsides and then take a delay penalty. So why did Pagano ever allow the play to be called with an injury substitute who hadn’t practiced the play, and why didn’t he take a timeout once it became obvious the Patriots weren’t jumping offsides? The Colts had a failed fake punt against the Dallas Cowboys last year.
3. Though the Denver Broncos sport a 6-0 record, Peyton Manning has come under fire for his league-worst 10 interceptions. Gary Kubiak isn’t going to bench Manning. But it has become obvious Manning’s skills have declined greatly, as he has been intercepted once every 33.6 attempts since the start of last season. That ranks 35th among 49 quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts in that span.
4. The Kansas City Chiefs rank 20th in yards, 22nd in points and last in third-down conversions. Yet, head coach Andy Reid refuses to relinquish his play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Doug Pederson.
5. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed cornerback Davon House to a four-year, $24.5 million deal in the off-season despite House starting only 14 games in four seasons in Green Bay. The Jaguars replaced House in the starting lineup with Dwayne Gratz, moving House to the nickel. Quarterbacks have targeted House 40 times, and he has allowed 19 receptions for 275 yards and two touchdowns, according to STATS.
Tampa Bay Bucs running back Doug Martin has back-to-back 100-yard games. That gives him a chance to become only the third back in team history with at least three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Martin, who played in only 15 games over the past two seasons combined, has 44 carries for 229 yards and three touchdowns the past two games.
The San Diego Chargers benched rookie running back Melvin Gordon last week. Gordon, the 15th overall pick, has four fumbles, three lost, and no touchdowns this season. He has run for 299 yards on 78 attempts this season.
1,875 Yards covered by Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd last week, the only NFL player to run at least a mile during a Week 6 game. The league’s Next Gen Stats tracks players’ movements through tags in their shoulder pads.
2016 NFL Draft
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com gives his top-10 senior defensive ends and top-five draft-eligible underclassmen at the position for the 2016 draft:
Senior defensive ends
1. DeForest Buckner, Oregon, 6-7, 290
2. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State, 6-5, 252
3. Shawn Oakman, Baylor, 6-8, 280
4. Jonathan Bullard, Florida, 6-3, 283
5. Carl Nassib, Penn State, 6-5, 276
6. Charles Tapper, Oklahoma, 6-4, 283
7. Drew Ott, Iowa, 6-4, 270
8. Bronson Kaufusi, BYU, 6-6, 265
9. Theiren Cochran, Minnesota, 6-5, 257
10. James Cowser, Southern Utah, 6-3, 258
1. Joey Bosa, Ohio State, 6-5, 275
2. Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 275
3. Shaq Lawson, Clemson, 6-3, 270
4. Jonathan Allen, Alabama, 6-3, 283
5. Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M, 6-5, 260
The Steelers’ Landry Jones had a 149.3 passer rating last week, the second-best ever for a quarterback in his first NFL game.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has been intercepted 27 times in 635 career attempts. His backups have fewer interceptions in more career attempts. Robert Griffin III has been intercepted 23 times in 1,063 career attempts, and Colt McCoy has been picked off 23 times in 831 career attemtps.
The Houston Texans led the NFL with 37 takeaways last season. Through six games this season, they have five interceptions and no fumble recoveries.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was under center for 12 percent of the snaps in the first four games, but 32 percent last week. Running back Lamar Miller had 14 carries the previous two games combined but 19 last week.
The Philadelphia Eagles have 21 rushing first downs in the past two games. They had 17 in the first four.
The Minnesota Vikings have gone only 2-15-1 on the road since the start of the 2013 season. That includes a 2-8 mark for Mike Zimmer since he took over as head coach before last season.
Since 2012, Rex Ryan’s teams are 2-17 following a win.
The Oakland Raiders have not returned a punt for a touchdown since 2008. They have had 236 returns since Johnnie Lee Higgins’ 80-yard return for a score. They have not had a kickoff return for a touchdown since 2011, 181 returns since Jacoby Ford scored.
Bucs receiver Mike Evans, who tied the team record with 12 touchdowns last season, has none so far this season.
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s 583 receiving yards have him on pace for his first 1,000-yard season since 2011.
Information from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.