Posted on Fri, Jul. 14, 2006

[size=18px]Peach native stays close from far away[/size]

By Robyn Disney

FORT VALLEY - Marcus Robinson was one of many NFL football players at Randy McMichael Foundation's charity weekend.

But the Minnesota Vikings wide receiver wasn't in the program. His name wasn't sent out in any news releases. When a few of the players slated to appear started backing out, McMichael knew he could get Robinson, another former Peach County standout, to make an appearance.

"Randy called me up two weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to come," Robinson said. "I didn't hesitate. I told him I would be there."

That's because one of Robinson's top priorities is his community. He's already been down this year to speak to the Peach County High School football team, which won the GHSA Class AAA title, during its banquet.

"It's always good to come home," Robinson said while signing autographs after the charity basketball game last Friday night. "I remember being that young and looking up to the big stars of the NFL. I know these kids look at us the same way we used to look to our heroes."

It didn't take long for Robinson to become a local hero. During Robinson's time, the Trojans football program was starting to take shape into what it is now. From 1990 to 1992, Peach County went 34-4 and had a playoff record of 6-2. In 1992, the Trojans went to their first Class AAA championship game, losing 14-13 to Thomas County Central. That same year, Robinson was named first team all-state.

"There weren't many successful Trojans before me, Alex Vinson (an offensive lineman also named first team all-state) and Jacquez Green (who also had a NFL career)," Robinson said. "Getting a football scholarship from South Carolina was a huge deal for me."

Robinson didn't make an impact on the football field right away. But he found his niche as a track athlete, earning all-American honors as a junior and setting the school record in the indoor 200-meter dash (21.14 seconds). He shined for the football team in his senior year when he hauled in 21 catches for 505 yards and one touchdown. Robinson was drafted in 1997 by the Bears and played six seasons in Chicago, then one in Baltimore and the last two in Minnesota.

Despite living up north, Robinson still has kept close ties with the Fort Valley community.

"I was so excited when I heard about the success the football team was having," Robinson said. "I was constantly updated throughout the season and when they won the state title, I was so happy the trophy finally came to Peach County."

But while the Trojans were having a banner year, Robinson's current team was dealing with turmoil. In the 2005 offseason, the Vikings traded one of their best players, wide receiver Randy Moss, to the Oakland Raiders. They started the season 1-4 and lost starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper in the seventh game of the season. During that time, the infamous boat cruise scandal came to light (Robinson was not one of the players involved). By the end of the season, the Vikings missed the playoffs and coach Mike Tice was fired.

Despite the chaos, Robinson managed to have a respectable season. He led the team with 16.6 yards per catch and five touchdowns. He had 31 catches for 515 yards.

"I treat it like a job," Robinson said. "It's not your normal nine-to-five job but I focus on what I have to do to make the team better and win. I can't worry about stuff that is out of my control."

But a new coach, Brad Childress, and quarterback Brad Johnson back at the helm has Robinson feeling confident about the Vikings' future.

Robinson did not attend the Vikings' offseason strength and conditioning program earlier this year. His wife, Keyomi, opened a hair salon near their home in Chicago so Robinson stayed at home to take care of their two kids, Mykala and Marcus Jr. He did attend minicamp.

"I just love kids," Robinson said. "Kids are our future and we need to do whatever we can for them."

Robinson is very active in his other community, Chicago, as well. The Marcus Robinson Foundation raises money for underprivileged children and their families. He's even played Santa Claus at charity functions around Christmas time.

"I love it when kids ask for an autograph," Robinson said. "They get so excited to see you. They don't have a card, a program or a football. They'll find a napkin or tissue and ask you to sign it. Those mean the most to me. I probably get a kick of it more than the kids."

Contact Disney at 923-3109 ext. 241 or [email protected]

Peach native stays close from far away