Commanders' Brian Robinson Cleared to Return to Practice 5 Weeks After Being Shot

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVOctober 5, 2022

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: Running back Brian Robinson #8 of the Washington Commanders warms up at FedExField on September 25, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Brian Robinson Jr. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Washington Commanders announced Wednesday running back Brian Robinson has been designated to return to practice ahead of Sunday's Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans.

Robinson was placed on the NFL's non-football injury list after being shot twice during an armed robbery attempt in late August.

Washington has 21 days to either activate the rookie rusher to its 53-man roster or return him to the NFI list.

The Commanders selected Robinson in the third round of the 2022 draft out of the University of Alabama. He earned First Team All-SEC honors with the Crimson Tide in 2021.

He played well in the preseason, tallying 72 yards on 16 touches (4.5 yards per touch) with one touchdown.

A crowded backfield could limit his impact as a rookie, though.

Starter Antonio Gibson and third-down specialist J.D. McKissic sit atop the depth chart. Reserve options include Jonathan Williams and Jaret Patterson, who's on the practice squad.

Exactly where Robinson will land in the hierarchy once he's on the roster is unclear, but head coach Ron Rivera said last week the first-year back has worked hard to recover.

"It's one of those very fortunate situations that that wasn't any worse, and that's the first major positive," Rivera told reporters. "The second positive is how he's handled it, the way he's reacted to it, the way he's been getting himself back."

Robinson could make his debut as early as Sunday's clash with the Titans, but the activation period runs through Oct. 26, four days before a Week 8 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.

Looking ahead, both Gibson and McKissic are scheduled to become free agents after the 2023 season, so it's possible the 23-year-old Alabama native spends his first two NFL seasons in a timeshare before taking over the backfield in 2024.

Robinson's rise up the depth chart could happen quicker if he impresses out of the gate.