Michael Robinson's football playing career is likely over.

The former Penn State standout admitted as much over the weekend.

"There really isn't a market for 31-year-old fullbacks headed into their ninth year in the (NFL)," Robinson told StateCollege.com. "Economically speaking, I understand that. I'm going to give myself a little time after the draft to let teams see how their rosters shake out. After seeing what happens, I'm probably going to call it a career."

If this is indeed the end of the line for MRob, it's a career that should be celebrated.

He should be remembered by PSU fans as the player most responsible for ending one of the most forgettable periods in Nittany Lions football history.

During the five-year time span from 2000 until 2004, Penn State had four losing seasons. It was worst era in Lions' football since the 1930s. The university president wanted to oust an aging Joe Paterno as the head coach. The PSU icon famously shooed Graham Spanier out of his house and remained firmly in charge.

In 2005, after three years of waiting patiently behind Zack Mills, Robinson finally got his shot to become PSU's full-time starter at quarterback, and in a single memorable season, he willed the Lions back on to the national football map.

PSU finished 2005 at 11-1 with a Big Ten co-championship, an Orange Bowl victory and a No. 3 national ranking. Of course, all those wins were later erased by the NCAA in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, but the memories that Robinson orchestrated during that magical season can never be erased. They are seared into the hearts and minds of Nittany Nation.


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In his lone season as a starter, Robinson was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Robinson did not possess great quarterbacking skills. He was not an especially accurate passer. He was not a great reader of defenses. He did not possess an absolute rocket for an arm.

His passing numbers that season were actually rather pedestrian, especially compared to the pinball numbers put up by today's top QBs. He completed 162 of 311 passes (52.1 percent) for 2,350 yards, with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

But Robinson was still a great college football player and leader. He was also an impressive physical specimen, at 6 feet, 1 inch and 230 rock-hard pounds. He used those attributes to rescue a program on the brink of irrelevance.

He was second on the team in rushing with 163 carries for 806 yards (4.9 average) and 11 touchdowns, becoming the first player in school history to throw for more than 2,000 yards and rush for more than 500 yards in the same season.

But those are just numbers, and numbers don't tell the full Robinson story.

The Blue-and-White faithful are more likely to remember a couple Robinson "moments."

Like in the season's fourth week, when he led the Lions on a game-winning drive at Northwestern en route to an unlikely 34-29 comeback victory, capped by a last-minute 36-yard touchdown pass to true freshman Derrick Williams.

Or when he absolutely bulldozed a Minnesota defensive back along the sideline in the fifth game of the season, a signature highlight in a 44-14 thrashing of the Gophers.

Those early-season victories served to announce that the Lions had returned to national prominence.

Penn State hasn't endured a losing season since.

After leaving Happy Valley, Robinson had the intelligence to realize that his limited QB skills wouldn't transition well into the NFL. After going undrafted, he checked his ego at the door and accepted a position switch to the unglamorous position of fullback with the San Francisco 49ers. He later became a Pro Bowler at the position with Seattle and was part of the Seahawks' Super Bowl championship team earlier this year.

If 2013 was his final football season, it will put a fairly remarkable ending on a standout career. He was cut by Seattle early in the 2013 season. He later overcame a life-threatening liver and kidney illness to come back and play for Seattle by midseason and become a part of the Super Bowl run. Now Robinson looks ready to begin the next chapter in his life. He has two communications degrees and has already has done some TV work with ESPN and the NFL Network. He also has his own web show and website.

"I'm treating my broadcast career as if I am not going to play any more," Robinson told StateCollege.com. "And if I do get a call from a team, then I'm counting that as a bonus."

If history tells us anything, you can bet that Robinson will be a success in his new career, too.

He's smart, articulate and determined.

Those attributes helped make him one of the most pivotal players in the long history of PSU football.

And they also translate into any profession.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.