Today marks just 12 days until the Chicago Bears regular season home opener versus the Green Bay Packers. To celebrate the rapid approach of the first NFL Sunday, today's installment of Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff brings us to the life and career of the best player in franchise history to don the number 12, receiver Allen Robinson.
Allen Robinson becomes Pro Bowler before signing with Chicago Bears
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Allen Robinson's football career began at the nearby St. Mary's Prep in Orchard Lake Village. There, Robinson also participated on his school's basketball and track teams, but his best moments came on the gridiron. Playing on offense, defense, and special teams, Robinson had a productive high school career, highlighted by a dominant senior season.
In his final year, Robinson was a super-star at the wide receiver position, finishing the season with 720 yards and 10 touchdowns. Alongside two punt return touchdowns and a couple of interceptions on defense, Robinson was one of his team's best players and helped the group make the Michigan Division III State Championship, where they would unfortunately lose.
Following the end of his high school football career, the 6'3", 210 lb receiver became a highly touted recruit, eventually accepting an offer from Penn State University.
Robinson joined the Nittany Lions for the 2010 season, a significant one as it would end up being coach Joe Paterno's final year with the program. The receiver became one of the few true freshmen to play during the regular season, where he recorded a catch in three separate contests.
As a sophomore, Robinson officially joined the starting offense, where he quickly turned into a dominant force as a pass catcher. In 12 regular season contests under new head coach Bill O'Brien, Robinson accrued 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns on 77 receptions. All three totals led the Big 10 throughout the 2012 season, and he set a new program record for catches in one season. At the end of the year, Robinson was named an All-Big 10 player and was a Biletnikoff award finalist.
The following season, Robinson had another dominant season, leading the Big 10 again in both receptions (97) and receiving yards (1,432). His touchdown total dropped slightly, finishing the season with just six scores, but the receiver turned in another terrific season.
After his junior campaign, Robinson felt ready to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. In what would end up being a fairly loaded draft class, Robinson was part of a talented receiver group that included the likes of Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, and Davante Adams. The group was so deep that when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Robinson with the 61st overall pick during the second round, the Penn State standout became the 11th receiver off the board. While some of these players would go on to be top players in the league, Robinson would have a better career than more than half of the receivers selected ahead of him.
As a rookie, Robinson joined a fairly talented, young receiver group that already included the likes of Allen Hurns, Marquise Lee, and Cecil Shorts, but the former Nittany Lion was quickly able to break through the log-jam and became a starter for the team's final eight games. There, Robinson recorded 548 yards, the third most on the team, alongside two touchdowns on just 48 receptions. As a rookie, Robinson proved that his game was capable of translating from the college ranks to the NFL.
With a great blend of size, speed, physicality, and hand strength, Robinson became a very dependable receiver early in his career. This became abundantly apparent by his second season, where he became a full-time starter at the wide receiver position and hauled in a ridiculous 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns on 80 receptions. His touchdown total was the most by a pass-catcher throughout the league that year, and he even had the longest reception of the season with a 90-yard touchdown late in the season against the Saints.
Following his second season, Robinson was elected to the Pro Bowl and was recognized as one of the top receivers in the league. The next season, Robinson's production dropped a little, although his 883 receiving yards were the most by a Jaguar throughout the year. He also had the most receiving touchdowns on the team with six, but Jacksonville struggled yet again in Robinson's young career, and the team posted their third consecutive sub-.500 record.
By 2017, the Jaguars finally broke through as a unit and finished the year with an impressive 10-6 record, strong enough for a first-place division finish. However, as the team would go on to make the Conference Championship, Robinson's season ended much earlier due to an ACL injury. In the team's regular-season opener, Robinson caught one pass for 17 yards before leaving the game with what would be a season-ending injury. If Robinson were healthy, the Jaguars might have beaten the Patriots to go to the Super Bowl, but then again, maybe they would not have, there is no way of knowing.