Healthy Robinson Eager To Transform Bears' Offense

Allen Robinson declared himself 100 percent after an offseason knee rehab.

Chris Emma
July 19, 2018 - 4:00 pm
Bears receiver Allen Robinson

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (670 The Score) -- For 17 years now, fans have traveled from Chicago and all over to the campus of Olivet Nazarene to see the Bears work through training camp.

There have been teams good and bad, star players and undrafted hopefuls, but there has never been a receiver quite like Allen Robinson, a 24-year-old proven Pro Bowl talent who's aiming to transform the Bears' offense.

"He can be a really special player for us," quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said Thursday as the team reported to camp.

Robinson arrived on campus and declared himself 100-percent healthy after a long rehab from a torn ACL on the first series of the 2017 regular season. An accomplished receiver in Jacksonville, he signed a three-year deal worth up to $42 million with Chicago in March.

With all due respect to Muhsin Muhammad -- on the wrong side of 30 when the Bears signed him in 2005 -- the Bears haven't seen a receiver lately like Robinson who boasts a Pro Bowl to his name and also the potential to keep getting better. Players of his talent and age usually don't hit the open market, but he was a cap casualty of the Jaguars.

Proof of Robinson's abilities is in the production, which saw him amass a combined 153 receptions for 2,283 yards and 20 touchdowns across 2015 and 2016. He caught one pass last season and went down along the sidelines at NRG Stadium with the torn ACL that ended his campaign and began the long road back.

The greatest concern with the Bears' signing of Robinson was how he would respond in his knee rehab. Coach Matt Nagy delivered the good news Thursday as the team reported that Robinson -- along with guard Kyle Long and linebacker Leonard Floyd -- would be "full steam ahead" for practice come Friday.

"One day you’re catching a pass for 17 yards, and then the next day you can’t walk for six weeks," Robinson said as he reflected on the injury and rehab. "I think there are a lot of different things that you kind of take into account going through the process of just not only learning how to do certain physical things again and just trusting everything. And just in general, you get a much greater appreciation for going out there, being around your teammates, playing in those big games."

Added Trubisky: "He’s starting to look like the old Allen Robinson, and it’s just good to see."

The Bears operated with a cautious approach for Robinson in offseason activities as he worked back from the injury, limiting him and ensuring he didn't push anything too far during his recovery. 

Nagy now wants to see Trubisky and Robinson create a chemistry together on the field, enhancing their timing in routes at full speed. It's something both suggested is well underway. 

Trubisky has plenty on his plate during his first camp as a starter, so Robinson hopes to cater to him.

"It’s all about quarterback comfort," Robinson said. "I think that’s what’s going to make everything that much easier. I want Mitch to be able to go out there and just be able to play free, and so it’s my job to make his easy."

Bears general manager Ryan Pace referred to this offseason as "aggressive" for his team. No position on the roster saw a makeover quite like receiver. The Bears added Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Bennie Fowler in free agency and drafted Anthony Miller out of Memphis in the second round. Tight end Trey Burton should see looks at receiver as well.

In Robinson, the Bears added a player capable of making everyone on the offense better, starting with Trubisky. His presence on any given play will draw the attention of a defense and create openings for others.

Training camp in Bourbonnais brings the beginning for all their potential together.

"We know he has great hands," Trubisky said. "He’ll go up and get it. Explosive route runner. The more reps we get -- it’s all about repetitions for us -- (we can) continue to build that chemistry. 

"We're going to create our own identity, and it's going to be something the Chicago Bears haven't seen for a while."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.