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Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr.: 'Night and day' difference in how he feels going into Year 2

It's been 11 months to the day since Brian Robinson Jr. was shot during an attempted carjacking, and the Commanders running back said Friday morning that he's constantly grateful for those who supported him during that time.

"I'm very grateful," he said, via team transcripts. "It's not a day that I wake up and I'm not thankful and appreciative for everybody that was in my corner from the time everything happened to this point. I make sure I let everybody know every chance I get how much I appreciate them and how much I appreciate being here."

Robinson was hospitalized after suffering gunshot wounds to his leg and hip during as a victim of an Aug. 28 shooting. But with an impressive recovery turnaround, Robinson returned to practice on Sept. 14 and made his NFL debut in Week 5.

Splitting time for most of the season with Antonio Gibson, Robinson still finished as Washington's leading rusher despite missing time, accumulating 797 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 12 appearances (nine starts), including a game-winning TD reception in his second game back versus the Bears.

But Robinson on Friday said he never fully felt like himself in 2022, as the lingering effects of his injuries kept him from playing at the high level he expects. Now, feeling fully healthy heading into the 2023 season, Robinson said it's a "night and day" difference and that he's feeling "like myself more and more every day."

"From the time I stepped back on the field, I was dealing with all kinds of things going on in my body, you know from the incident I had, all type of things going on in my knee, everything going on in my hip. There wasn't one time I felt like Brian Robinson," he said. "So, people should expect a lot of great things to come when you compare all the things I did while I was limping around all year last year."

Robinson is expected to retain a role as the RB1 this season, and wants to advance his game by showing he can provide multiple options out of the backfield for his quarterback, saying that he doesn't want to be "one-dimensional."

"If you want me to run routes, you want me to catch the ball, I can do that. If you need me to run power, I can do that," Robinson said. "The biggest thing for me, I just don't want to be one dimensional and I don't want to be just a power back. I want to be able to run routes, run down the field, catch the ball with soft hands and continue to grow my game."

And his coaches are seeing the work Robinson is putting in, with running backs coach Randy Jordan saying that the 24-year-old is proving that he can be exactly what the Commanders were looking for when they drafted him in the third round of the 2022 draft.

"He's everything what I thought he would be and probably more," Jordan said on Friday, via ESPN. "The biggest thing is you see his confidence in his leg when he's making cuts. His explosion, initial quickness is better than it's been.

"...When you look at what he's done from what he went through as a player -- not only the physical part but the mental toughness it takes to come back... I'm excited to see what he can do with a full season."

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