RENTON, Wash. — Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson woke up on Aug. 17 determined to play in his second preseason game of the year for the Seattle Seahawks despite feeling like he was about to come down with an illness.
Until Tuesday, when Robinson re-signed with Seattle, no one knew how extensive Robinson's illness was that eventually led to him being cut by the Seahawks at the end of training camp.
"It was bad man," Robinson said. "I didn't realize how bad it was until I was able to look back and reflect on it."
Robinson, a captain for the Seahawks last season, was back in the Seattle locker room on Tuesday after Derrick Coleman suffered a hamstring injury in last Thursday's win at Arizona. Coleman remained on Seattle's roster while fellow fullback Spencer Ware was placed on season-ending injured reserve to clear a roster spot for Robinson. Ware's been out since Week 2 with a high-ankle sprain.
What was unclear was the full extent of Robinson's illness that saw him miss the final two weeks of the preseason for Seattle and then get cut when the Seahawks reduced the roster to 53. Seattle coach Pete Carroll had described Robinson at one point during training camp as being "violently ill," but never disclosed the seriousness.
Robinson twice ended up in the hospital. Doctors were concerned about how his liver and kidneys were functioning. He lost more than 30 pounds.
"I went to the hospital two separate times. The first time I went they really didn't know what was going on, they just kind of pumped me with fluids," Robinson said. "Come to find out when I got readmitted a couple of days later I shouldn't have left the hospital."
Robinson started to feel off the morning of the Seahawks' preseason game against Denver, but believed he was just at the beginning of getting the flu. It turned out he was having a reaction to an anti-inflammatory prescription medication, Indocin. Robinson had been taking it two times per day as prescribed.
But a combination of the medication and dehydration left his body vulnerable. He was knocked off his feet for more than two weeks by the illness. His weight dropped from 245 pounds to 212. He had extensive blood work done by doctors to determine what exactly was going on with his body.
"They just said it was the perfect storm," Robinson said. "I just felt like I was getting the flu. And then come to find out it was real bad. Kidneys, liver nearly failed. It was pretty bad."
Robinson's illness made the decision easy for Seattle on letting him go. He was due $2.5 million in base salary if he was on the regular season roster and Seattle was high on both Ware and Coleman. Carroll and Seattle general manager John Schneider assured Robinson if the opportunity presented itself, they would do what they could to bring him back.
That opportunity arose on Thursday night. Coleman was injured in the second quarter and Seattle had to use tight ends as lead blockers in their two-back sets. Schneider reached out to Robinson via text message on Friday asking how he was feeling.
Robinson had already gone on visits to Tennessee and the New York Giants, but didn't sign with either. He completely regained the weight that he lost and was waiting for the right chance. He even dabbled as a TV analyst during his break.
But he remained in touch with the majority of the Seahawks locker room and talked with running back Marshawn Lynch daily. Robinson's return even got Lynch to say "I like it," as he ran through the Seahawks locker room.
"I definitely missed it, more than anything just being around the guys in this locker room," Robinson said. "We've got a lot of great character guys in that locker room and that's what you miss."