LETROB, PA (Nittany Nation) — All-time great Nittany Lion, Allen Robinson is returning to Happy Valley for the first time Saturday night as an honorary captain for West Virginia-Penn State.
“I’ve never played in a stadium like Beaver Stadium,” Robinson said when I sat down with him this summer at Steelers Camp.
Saturday is Robinson’s first time back to Penn State since being drafted in 2014. The now Steelers’ wide receiver was a part of one of the greatest moments in Penn State football history. In the final minute of Penn State’s four-overtime win against Michigan, Robinson soared high, hauling in a 36-yard pass that set up the overtime forcing touchdown. It’s a moment Robinson felt defined his career so much, he had it tattooed on his ribcage.
“No matter where I’m at, it may be Florida or wherever, people will come up to me and say, Hey, I was here when that play happened. Or I remember that catch,” he said. “When I kind of thought about what would I what would be my greatest memory, or what would make me remember Penn State the most, that’s the play that I thought of.”
Robinson is fourth all-time at Penn State in career receptions, fifth and yards. He holds the single-season records in both those categories. But all of it almost never happened.
Robinson was a Nittany Lion from 2011 to 2013 during the heat of the Sandusky scandal. The NCAA gave players a free pass to leave, but he didn’t. Robinson said all he ever wanted was to be a Nittany Lion, so he stayed. Looking back, he said the adversity he went through made him a better man.
“I kind of reflect on adverse moments or adverse situations or as things have come up in my current life and how I handled situations previously and that’s definitely one that I always think about. Dating back to when I was 18 years old and there was so much going on at that time,” he recalled. “So being able to compartmentalize those things through adversity, is a decision I look back on at the time and it’s like, I kind of pat my 18-year-old self on the back.”
After stints with the Jaguars, Bears and Rams, Robinson signed with the Steelers this offseason, beginning his tenth season in the NFL. Robinson, a Michigan native, enjoys being back in Pennsylvania and said the welcome receptions from Steelers fans has been exciting.
“I’ve seen so many Penn State shirts, banners flying everything here, you know, it’s pretty cool. I haven’t personally really seen that or felt that since being in State College,” he said. “Being back here, you really get to experience, it’s like you almost reliving Penn State a little bit.”