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Robinson chased his dream

Leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, Steelers players will be sharing their Draft Day Memories, from the time they went to the NFL Scouting Combine, through the moment they were drafted. In this installment, linebacker Mark Robinson gives his take.

Mark Robinson - 2022 NFL Draft - 7th Round

I didn't get invited to the NFL Combine. I was just working out, preparing for my pro day. I was making sure everything was together. I wanted to go out and perform. Everybody is shooting for the stars.

Not going to the combine, all things happen for a reason, and you've just got to believe that. You take it for what it is. I had a chip on my shoulder. I expected to be overlooked. It didn't surprise me. But, like everybody else, I was hoping I got an e-mail invitation and it never happened. It was a great chip on my shoulder for me to do my best on my pro day.

Without going to the combine, the pro day was my combine. It was almost like a one-time game. Almost like the championship. I was just zoned in, trying to make sure I'm focused and ready to put on the best show I could put on. We had a good turnout. It gave me a chance. Gave me a chance to live out my dream.

A lot of teams showed up for our pro day. We had a lot of good players and that helped. It was a great feeling. I had a chance to compete for NFL professionals. It was a great experience. I knew everything was on the line. Everything.

The Steelers were at my pro day. We went out to dinner with them the night before. It was me and some of my teammates. We talked, shared stories. Got to know each other. It was a surreal moment. It brought me joy. I just wanted to blend in some at dinner, but make an impression too. I really didn't know after the dinner if they were interested or not. I got invited to the facility in Pittsburgh before the draft, so it felt like there was some interest.

Going on the visit, it was the first time I was in Pittsburgh, it was the first time I was up North. I'm used to being down South. Just seeing how different it was. The day I got to the facility, I had never seen anything like it. For me it was a dream come true. I was texting my brother telling him what I was doing because this was something we thought about my whole life. To be in the moment and be invited to come up and meet the coaches and just be around the guys and be in a facility, it was amazing to me. When I walked in there, it started to become real.

When it came time for the draft, I was ready for all of the craziness leading up to it to be over. It was the day I was waiting for my whole life. I said a prayer that day, just asking for the best.

I had my family with me, my immediate family, trying to do other things to keep my mind off the wait. It's not easy to do because it's right there in your face. When my phone rang it was such a relief. You know somebody took a chance on you and you get a shot that not a lot of people get. You have an opportunity to live out your dream. Everything that you've been doing to earn it, the opportunity is now in your hands. Before you get drafted, you have no control. But once you get picked by a team it's back in your hands. I felt like I was able to breathe a little bit more.

Getting the call was amazing. I can't even remember part of what was said. It was so surreal. It was one of those moments that you know it's real, but it's almost like it wasn't. It was just amazing. It was a beautiful moment for my family. A lot of hard work went into getting to that point and it finally paid off. It was emotional. Just everything that went into it, and it paid off. I chased my dream, so when that moment happened, it was amazing.

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