James Robinson's Achilles tendon injury a massive loss for Jaguars on, off field

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Jaguars running back James Robinson (25) is carted off the field during Sunday's game against the Jets. Robinson was diagnosed with a torn Achilles tendon, ending his season.
Jaguars running back James Robinson (25) is carted off the field during Sunday's game against the Jets. Robinson was diagnosed with a torn Achilles tendon, ending his season.

It was hard seeing James Robinson carted off with a towel over his head after suffering a torn left Achilles tendon during Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

The Jaguars don't have many star players on their roster, but Robinson exemplifies everything you would want in one. He's that type of player that a parent can confidently tell their kid Robinson is someone you can look up to because he carries himself like a role model on and off the field.

He doesn't crave the spotlight. He did not change after a successful rookie season in 2020 but was more driven to be more productive.

That's why it was hard seeing him fall to the ground on a non-contact injury that occurred after he came out of his stance during a first-quarter play. Interim coach Darrell Bevell announced after the Jaguars' 26-21 loss that Robinson suffered a torn Achilles tendon.

He was scheduled to get a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test to determine the extent of the tear Monday. But a torn Achilles is a notoriously difficult injury to recover from, and Robinson could be sidelined for up to 10 months. The Jaguars officially placed Robinson on injured reserve Monday.

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Jaguars running back James Robinson (25) attempts to elude the tackle of San Francisco linebacker Marcell Harris (36) on Nov. 21 in Jacksonville.
Jaguars running back James Robinson (25) attempts to elude the tackle of San Francisco linebacker Marcell Harris (36) on Nov. 21 in Jacksonville.

“It’s unfortunate for us that we lose a player of James’ caliber, he’s such a rock for us really on our team, as well as the offense,'' Bevell said. ''When one of your bell cows like that goes down like that it’s a tough blow.''

It is even a tougher blow for Robinson, especially considering what all he had to endure unnecessarily this season. For whatever reason, it appeared former head coach Urban Meyer, who was fired earlier this month after 13 games, did not regard Robinson as a vital offensive weapon. He viewed him as a tailback with a similar skill set as backup Carlos Hyde.

Under Meyer, Robinson's usage rate took a significant hit and he got benched twice after fumbles against the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams. By now, we all know the story. After Robinson was benched for 20 plays against the Rams, Meyer told reporters to go ask running backs Bernie Parmalee for an explanation. But it was Meyer who ordered the bench and had Parmalee stop Robinson from re-entering the game, according to the NFL Network's report that cited sources.

It was revealing when Bevell said during his first day as interim head coach Robinson is their starting running back, and he will be played as such.

And quarterback Trevor Lawrence voiced his concerns when Meyer was still the head coach, when he told the coaching staff following their 37-7 loss to the Rams Dec. 5 that Robinson needs to be on the field.

''He's got to be on the field,'' Lawrence said. ''I voiced my opinion that James is one of our best players, and he's got to be in the game.''

Remarkably, Robinson never got more than 18 carries in all 14 games he played this season despite gaining 767 yards. Last season, he had four games that he had 21 or more carries before rushing for 1,070 yards. Robinson has had back-to-back seasons playing 14 games, but Robinson had only 164 carries this season compared to 240 in 2020.

Last month, Robinson also played with heel and knee injuries. He battled back to play when most players would have sat out. But when Robinson returned to play against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10, Meyer started Hyde instead.

And despite it all, Robinson never made it a public issue other than saying during his weekly appearance on Action Sports' Jags Report show that he felt he got benched in the Rams game after he was directly asked about it.

"I would say so," Robinson said. "Obviously, like I said last week, I mean, that (fumbles) can't happen. When it happens and you're out for that long, you gotta feel that way. I was just waiting my chance to get back in the game, didn't really come until the third quarter."

But after voicing that, Robinson has remained low-key like he has since his arrival. He has been a player that just lets his play do all his talking. On a miserable 2-13 team, Robinson is a stand-up guy. No one can pull anything out of him. He gives the same reaction if the Jaguars lose by 20 or win by 14.

Undrafted out of Illinois State, the Jaguars found a gem but the former head coach who won three national championships just never recognized it.

Hopefully, Robinson will make a full recovery from his Achilles injury and resume where he left off. Maybe when he returns, the Jaguars will have a head coach in place that values a player who thrives on being a team player by showing it by his effort and not with statements.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jaguars RB James Robinson exemplifies everything a NFL star player should be

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