The first two tries failed so miserably that Aldrick Robinson couldn’t relax until the wheels of the plane touched down and he actually breathed some Northern Virginian air.
Drafted in the sixth round by the Washington Redskins in April, Robinson had hoped to make the trip from Dallas to the D.C. area so he could work out with his new teammates during their informal minicamp May 24-26.
But storms in Dallas canceled the Southern Methodist University wide receiver’s first flight. The next day, he was caught in traffic and missed the second flight. Robinson gave up after that.
On Monday, he finally made it to Dulles.
“I’m finally here. I finally made it!” Robinson said Tuesday. “The flight was feeling a little shaky on the way out here, so I’m glad I finally made it.”
The 5-foot-10, 184-pounder was one of 31 Redskins players who attended a voluntary group workout in Northern Virginia as they attempt to stay ready for the lifting of the NFL lockout.
Nineteen offensive players and 12 defensive players took part in Tuesday’s workouts. Linebacker London Fletcher led the defense, and quarterbacks Rex Grossman and John Beck led the offense. During the first two rounds of workouts — two days in April and three days in May — the units worked on material that would have been covered during the first and second days of organized team activities. This week, they ventured further into the playbooks.
Although he was thrilled to hit the field with his teammates, Robinson found that he had a good bit of catching up to do. Several times, Grossman or Beck broke the huddle, walked to the line and then jogged over to Robinson to show him exactly where to line up. At other times, Robinson leaned on second-year wide receiver Brandon Banks for explanations of plays and formations.
“I’m lost right now, asking questions every play, but hopefully after this week I’ll be a step ahead of where I was,” said Robinson, who concluded his four-year career at SMU with 181 catches for 3,314 yards and 30 touchdowns.
The veterans were glad to help Robinson. During the lockout, most consider tutoring rookies as important as knocking off their own rust.
“The guy’s got no structure. So, I’ll take on a little bit of a leadership role and help him out; get him familiar with the playbook,” Banks said. “I was in the same position as he was last year. Santana [Moss] and Joey Galloway helped me, so I’ll help him. He’s athletic, got some ability, he’s got strong hands and a little speed to him, so I think he’ll be good.”
Once he gained an understanding of some of the Redskins’ pass routes, Robinson displayed impressive speed and hauled in touchdown catches from both Grossman and Beck.
“Football is football, but the terminology ain’t hit me yet. I’m still trying to soak it all in,” Robinson said. “Once I did know what to run, I ran it like I knew it, and it kinda looked good when I ran a few plays. But I’m just trying to learn. It feels good to be out here.”
The Redskins will gather again Wednesday and Thursday. They expect more players to show up for those sessions.
Notes: Linebacker Brian Orakpo and wide receiver Malcolm Kelly both attended Tuesday’s workout after missing last month’s session. . . Six of the 12 rookies drafted in April — Robinson, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, safety DeJon Gomes, nose tackle Chris Neild, running back Evan Royster and guard Maurice Hurt — were there as well. Several other rookies weren’t able to make the trip for financial reasons, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said.