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Minicamp 2022: Robinson return "day by day"


JACKSONVILLE – He feels better. Much better.

Beyond that, third-year running back James Robinson said he's approaching a difficult offseason task the only way he can.

"Day by day," Robinson said.

Robinson, the Jaguars' leading rusher the past two seasons, spent the early months of the 2022 offseason rehabilitating a torn Achilles that cost him the last two games of last season. That process continued during 2022 minicamp at TIAA Bank Field this week, with Head Coach Doug Pederson projecting Robinson could return sometime during 2022 Training Camp.

That would put his return likely sometime in August, though Robinson said this week during his first offseason meeting with local media he doesn't have a specific timetable.

"I'm just letting my body recover," Robinson said Wednesday, the last day of '22 minicamp. "I'm not trying to rush anything. My body is recovering, and I'm just trying to get stronger. I'm out here running, and it feels pretty good to be back running."

Robinson smiled when asked if he anticipated being ready by the late July beginning of training camp: "When I'm ready, I'll be ready. You guys know."

Robinson, who signed with the Jaguars as a rookie free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft, sustained his injury in a December 26 loss to the New York Jets. He said he began running again about a month ago, and that he will stay in Jacksonville to continue rehab during most of the five weeks until training camp.

"I've just stayed focused and tried not to get too down about it," Robinson said. "I knew I could come back from it. I've just tried to be strongminded, come back and not rush it."

While Robinson didn't practice during the offseason program, he attended multiple practices and worked with trainers on the side while rehabilitating – saying "just being out here, seeing my teammates running around and knowing I'll be doing that pretty soon" helped during a difficult return.

"Just being around the whole thing helps me try to stay in it," he said.

Robinson, who rushed for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie and 767 yards and eight touchdowns last season, spoke highly of new head coach Doug Pederson Wednesday. He said he likes Pederson's professional approach, and that he liked that Pederson retained running backs coach Bernie Parmalee.

"I'm tired of switching coaches," he said with a smile.

He said Pederson's approach with players was evident immediately.

"The way he (Pederson) carries himself around the building, like a professional," Robinson said of Pederson, who was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2016-2020 and who led that franchise to a Super Bowl victory following the 2017 season. "Just the way he talks to players, telling them how it's going to go – he's a professional about it.

"My first two years were kind of weird. My first year wasn't really an offseason [with organized team activities and minicamp canceled because of COVID-19]. This is kind of the first offseason for me, so it has been pretty good."

Robinson was asked if he studied Pederson's background and how he had used running backs at previous NFL coaching positions.

"All I knew is he won the Super Bowl," Robinson said smiling.

Robinson, too, said he looks forward to playing this season with running back Travis Etienne Jr. – the No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft who missed last season with a Lisfranc injury. Whereas Robinson is a powerful, compact runner with extraordinary vision and instincts, Etienne is a breakaway threat and a threat as a receiver and a runner. Robinson said he expects the two to complement one another.

"I'm very excited," he said. "Last year was just a bummer. You couldn't see him do what he does. This year, just watching him practice and everything, I think he'll be great."

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