BOURBONNAIS — It was hard for Allen Robinson to watch from the Bears play the Bengals from the sideline on Thursday. But he’s been through worse.
“Not just Thursday night — the past year,” the Bears’ receiver, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in the Jaguars’ opener last season, said Sunday. “Try watching the AFC championship. I mean, it’s been tough, man. I know, for me, I’m excited to get back out there and play.”
That will happen this week. Robinson, who has been given routine rest days during training camp, will participate in the Bears’ joint practices in Denver and, he said, the team’s preseason game Saturday. He sat out the first two.
“For me, it’s something I’m ready for and excited for,” Robinson said. “It’s been a while. I’ve put the work in each and every day trying to come out here, get better and perfect my craft each and every day.”
Robinson said he’s yet to have any setback during training camp after being limited during the team’s offseason program. He’s appreciative, he said, of the prudent ways the Bears have monitored his injury.
He’s finally at the point, he said, where he doesn’t think about his knee when he runs. The next step is to play against opponents.
“For the most part, it’s just been polishing certain cuts,” he said. “This game is a big muscle-memory game. You’ve gotta get out here, you’ve gotta do stuff, you’ve gotta do it against different looks and different things like that.
“You can go through as much drill work and as many cones and as many types of obstacle course-like drills in the offseason or whatever, but until you actually get up against defenders and see different looks and have to react differently, that’s really where it comes in. For me it’s really been getting that muscle memory back and things like that. I’ve been confident since Day 1.”
The Bears made a substantial investment in Robinson — $42 million over three years despite the knee injury — and have been happy with the results.
“With Allen, every single day he treats it like it’s his last day,” Nagy said. “When he’s out here, he’s running in and out of the huddle. He’s focused on when he’s not in the play he’s into the play on the sideline within the play itself. In meetings. Nothing changes. He doesn’t have the highs and lows. He’s consistently good at what he does.”
The Bears will ramp up Robinson’s work, Nagy said, in anticipation of Week 1. The coach is already daydreaming about exactly where he’ll fit into their scheme.
“Now that you start getting into a point of slowly starting to game plan here and there, your mind starts playing a little bit where you’re going to put him,” Nagy said. “It’s fun.”