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Browns left tackle Greg Robinson making most of his ‘third chance’ in NFL

When Browns players ran onto the field at Paul Brown Stadium to stretch before Sunday’s 35-20 road win over the Cincinnati Bengals, left tackle Greg Robinson received some chest bumps and playful punches from rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Robinson loved the exchange. The second overall pick in the 2014 draft is having fun and feeling comfortable with his new team. Mayfield is reaping the rewards.

“He’s full of energy,” Robinson said Thursday as the Browns (4-6-1) prepared for Sunday’s road game against the Houston Texans (8-3). “And I appreciate it ’cause some days I’m down, and guys like him pick me up.”

Robinson has picked up the entire offense the past three games by solidifying the starting left tackle job. The Browns haven’t surrendered a sack in the past two games and have ProFootballFocus.com’s third-ranked offensive line.

“He’s been a big, physical presence for us,” said Mayfield, who invited Robinson to work out with him in Los Angeles after the season. “That’s what we wanted. We wanted somebody to establish that left edge, be physical and set the tone. He’s done just that.”


Undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison struggled as the starting left tackle the first eight games of the season and dropped out of the lineup because of an illness. Robinson capitalized and hasn’t relinquished the gig.

“I didn’t really like sitting on the bench, but that’s the situation I was dealing with,” Robinson said. ”[I need to] take advantage of each opportunity I can get because any day this could be over.

“I have always had confidence in my ability. I feel like at times I was given the short end of the [stick], but all I can do is show up each day, continue to get better and work my butt off.”


On Sunday, Robinson will honor his late brother, Joshua, by participating in the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign. Robinson said Joshua died at age 37 earlier this year in Houston because of an addiction. So Robinson’s cleats are designed to raise awareness about alcohol and substance abuse and Recovery Resources, a nonprofit, community-based behavioral health care organization.

“It hit home for me,” Robinson said. “I discussed a few things with my family, and that’s what I decided to do.”

Robinson is determined to make his family proud and quick to point out this is his “third chance” in the NFL.

Previewing Sunday’s Browns game against the Texans

As a No. 2 pick, he proved to be a bust with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. He started 42 of 46 games before they traded him last year to the Detroit Lions for a sixth-round selection. An ankle injury ended his six-start run with the Lions, who cut him in November 2017.

The expectations tied to being a No. 2 pick were “overwhelming at times,” Robinson admitted, and he has worked on his weaknesses.

“I would say I’m a lot stronger,” he said. “I know how to use my strength more effectively.”

Robinson signed a one-year, $790,000 contract with the Browns on June 19, and got a big break after the Harrison experiment flopped.

He said he doesn’t know the last time he’s played this well and explained he’s healthy for the first time in a long while.

“I feel like I’ve always been up and down,” Robinson said, “but I’m really comfortable now, and I’ve had time to deal with [old injuries].

“Ever since I came in the league, I was just waiting on my moment to really sit back and say, ‘Oh, I got this.’ I feel like this is that moment, and I don’t want to let go.”

Robinson, 26, said he would “100 percent” like to re-sign with the Browns, who are still seeking a long-term solution at left tackle after 10-time Pro Bowl selection Joe Thomas retired in March. If Robinson has a strong finish in the final five games of the season, he shouldn’t be dismissed as a possibility.

The Texans will present a tough test, though. They’re tied for sixth in the league with 34 sacks, led by three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt (11.5 sacks) and 2014 No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney (seven sacks).

“We’re going to keep [Mayfield] clean,” Robinson said. “We just need to trust each other and don’t really change anything, know that each play, each down, is going to be a challenge, and we’re up for it.”



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Neil S. Schwartz

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