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Robinson II: 'It's a big opportunity'

Receiver Allen Robinson II is in Pittsburgh taking part in the Steelers voluntary offseason program less than a week after the team acquired him via a trade with the Los Angeles Rams.

For Robinson it's been a whirlwind getting the details of the trade worked out and he is happy to be in his new home.

"Last week was kind of a long week," said Robinson. "I had just got out to L.A., I want to say Sunday evening. I flew from the East Coast out to L.A. and I flew back here. But I'm excited. As soon as I heard that this may be taking place, I was very excited about it.

"It's a big opportunity. Especially for me as a veteran, coming to Pittsburgh and coming to the Steelers, just looking at the past a lot of (the success) veterans have had coming here. I'm looking forward to it."

Robinson, who will be entering his 10th season in the NFL, was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the 61st overall pick.

He has started 105 of the 110 games he has played in. He has 528 career receptions for 6,748 yards, a 13-yard average, and 43 touchdowns.

He spent the 2022 season with the Los Angeles Rams after signing with them as a free agent. He started 10 games, finishing with 33 receptions for 339 yards and three touchdowns before his season was cut short by a foot injury.

"Excited to have him," said General Manager Omar Khan during the pre-draft press conference on Monday. "Early on when Coach (Mike Tomlin) and I got together after the season, mapped out a plan on what we wanted 2023 to look like, one of the things we were keying on was acquiring a veteran receiver. Excited that we were able to get it all done with Allen.

"Once the medical was confirmed to be okay, it was easy for us. With respect to the medical, I'll just say that the doctors felt really good about him. We're going to be really smart, kind of like we were with Larry Ogunjobi, we were going to be conservative with the approach. We understand the importance of spring ball, but there's really no games being played until August. We're going to try to be really smart about that."

Robinson is no stranger to the Steelers as they looked at the Penn State product when he was coming out of college and liked what they saw then and where he has gone since.

"He's had experience as an inside guy. He has physicality in his game," said Tomlin. "He is an example of our general free agent interest. It goes all the way back to when he was at Penn State. Kevin Colbert and I spent a great deal of time with he and his family through his draft process. He was a 'Diaper Dandy.' A 20-year-old when he came into the draft. We held him in high regard. We liked his football character, we liked his talents, we liked his upside. We followed him throughout his NFL journey. The interest still remains. Those are generally the stories, that's the framing of the people that we generally do free agent business with."

Robinson remembers the interaction, finding it hard to believe that it was 10 years ago that he was that 'Diaper Dandy.'

"It definitely doesn't seem like 10 years ago. It seems like yesterday," said Robinson. "Having communication with Coach Tomlin since then, he has always left a great impression on me. Now being able to be under him, playing for this staff, I am very excited.

"I feel like I know Coach Tomlin pretty well, and I feel like he feels the same. Over the years, being able to have some conversations with him whether that's playing against Pittsburgh or in passing maybe at some kind of NFL event or something like that. Coach Tomlin is not only a great coach, but a great person. I think it speaks a lot seeing the success that this franchise has had."

Robinson will find himself as the veteran in the receiver room, but at 29-years old he has plenty still left in him. His role will be one to provide for the offense, but also provide leadership for the young guys in the receiver room.

"I have a lot of football left in me," said Robinson. "I thought last year in the time I was playing, in those 10 games, I felt very good about some of the things that I did. Unfortunately, I didn't get some of the opportunities that I may have wanted and things like that. But as far as how I felt as a football player from my route running ability, being able to get active a little bit in the red zone and doing some things like that on third down. I felt very good about last year.

"I feel like being around younger receivers keeps me young. This actually will be the first time in my career that I'll be the oldest receiver in the room. I'm still 29. I'm still learning some things myself. I'm looking forward to it. It's a great group, even from watching these guys from afar. It's a lot of talent in that room.

"Being able to help these guys out with some of the experience that I've had in different situations, on the field and off the field. I like to give as much knowledge to some of my younger teammates as possible. Being a vet in this league and to be able to play, now going into my 10th year, I feel like I've gained so much knowledge on the field and off the field and I'm always looking forward to passing that along."