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The Sad and Woeful Tale of Trevor Robinson

Chargers fans everywhere celebrated when Tom Telesco cut Trevor Robinson from the team on July 29th. But were fans truly justified in crowning Robinson a scapegoat for the team's 4-12 record? Or was it just a sign of the times, another large man swept under the rug of the "business" known as the NFL?

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NFL: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Robinson, according to PFF, was the worst offensive lineman in football last year. 2014 saw the Chargers trot out 5 different starting centers, a carousel of inconsistency. To top this incredible feat in 2015, the team deployed a human turnstile--more specifically, Number 60--to take the field for just too many games.

Us powder-blue-and-gold faithful found ourselves calling for Robinson's head on multiple occasions. Robinson solidified our feelings when, in our Week 5 game against the Steelers, Robinson visibly stopped chasing after the returner of a Rivers pick-six, a play soon to be universally mocked by the media.

The offensive line as a whole stunk it up in 2015; injury after injury ensued, with the lone exception being the center position. Robinson did not miss any time due to injury, earning praise from #17 by showing grit and tenacity. Which raises the question—what should we honestly expect from a guy we had never heard of just two years ago?

Let’s take a trip down the very sad and depressing annals of Chargers history, to the year 2014. In the midst of a playoff run, Chris Watt, our fourth center—fourth!—goes down with an injury. Telesco promptly scours the bargain bin, and comes up with Trevor Robinson, a former 2012 undrafted free agent who currently resides on the Bengals practice squad. Robinson mainly does his job, stays on the field, and finishes the season for the Bolts as the last center standing. Last offseason, Telesco rewarded Robinson with a two-year, $3.2M contract, mostly to serve as a dependable depth option.

Fast forward to this offseason. Robinson, scheduled to make $2.3M in 2016, hurts himself before training camp even starts. The writing is on the wall, and Telesco cuts ties with the 26-year-old on July 29.

Now, I know Trevor’s horrific play angered many. But damn, did the lynch mob come out in full effect when Richard Wade broke the news to BFTB readers. “Glad”, “Great”, “Hallelujah”—those were some of the words commenters threw out there. July 29 found Chargers fans...happy, a feeling of elation that is difficult to come by these days.

San Diego Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The way the NFL works, we as fans justify rooting for the GM to fire a guy by looking at the cap, looking at his play from a season ago. That’s all and well, I guess; just think about how many general managers end press conference by reminding us fans that “the NFL is a business.”

Nevertheless, even if Trevor more closely resembled a revolving door than All-Pro center Travis Frederick, there’s something admirable about him showing up to work every day and grinding, albeit poorly. And just think about it—what did we as fans think of #60 when he suited up for the first time?

We saw nothing. Just a practice squad guy, signed from a far-away land called Ohio.

So, when a guy like Robinson—who clearly doesn’t belong in the NFL—gets cut, we celebrate, then go on. But what about when a second-round draft pick like Jeremiah Attaochu, a starter from a year ago, shows up to camp and slides down the depth chart so much that he’s playing deep into the first preseason game?

We have not gotten an explanation for Jerry’s decline...yet. The default answer would be that he showed up out of shape to camp, the equivalent of me showing up to class without a pencil. Attaochu has all the talent in the world, and somehow he got jumped by guys I’ve never heard of.

NFL: 2016 NFL Draft Chuck Anderson-USA TODAY Sports

With Sean Lissemore landing on IR, similar to Stevie Johnson, he no longer can be cut. The capologists out there are already determining how much dead weight the injured veterans take up, and how much better that money can be spent elsewhere.

The Chargers acquired Lissemore back in 2013 for a seventh-round pick. They picked up Stevie Johnson at a time when most of the league thought his best days were behind him. And yet, we analyze the only numbers that matter to us—their contracts.

These men put their blood, sweat, and tears into their jobs. I would assume that 99% of the time, NFL players do not want to go down with an injury like some fans assume. That one percent being guys like Jacoby Jones, of course.

As the NFL approaches you might feel the urge to criticize the guys who suit up every Sunday, sometimes for their play on the field and sometimes for their choices off of it. The next time you feel the urge to take a shot at guys like Bosa, Flowers, or even Calvin Johnson, just remember, this is their livelihood we’re talking about. Just remember that those guys making millions will be a shell of their former selves in the next fifteen-to-twenty years. Just remember Robinson, that undrafted free agent who came to the Bolts via the Bengals practice squad, worked his ass off to get that big contract.

Well, at least try and remember Trevor Robinson. I know I sure as hell won’t.