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Jaguars RB James Robinson not rushing return, “Feels pretty good”

James Robinson is recovering from a ruptured Achilles toward the end of last season.

Kevin Nguyen

He’s feeling good about getting back on the field.

It’s been nearly six months since Jaguars running back James Robinson ruptured his Achilles tendon early during the team’s 26-21 loss against the New York Jets.

Since then, the third-year RB has worked and rehabbed in order to return to the gridiron, and get back to being the team’s bell-cow, a role he took on over the past two seasons as one of the team’s top players. He’s been on the field some during the offseason, but only working off to the side, able to watch his teammates from a distance.

Still, that’s kept him motivated, knowing he will be returning “soon,” he told reporters shortly after the team’s final day of minicamp on Wednesday, has kept him motivated.

“I think just being around the whole thing just helps me trying to stay in it.”

Still, Robinson, who has led the team in rushing yards in each of the past two seasons, isn’t trying to rush a return. Typically, the injury takes at least nine months to recover from, and Robinson began running about a month ago. He’s unlikely to be ready for the start of training camp next month.

Ultimately, he’s taking everything day by day, he said.

“I’m just letting my body recover,” Robinson said via “I’m not trying to rush anything. My body is recovering, and I’m just trying to get stronger. I’m out here running, and it feels pretty good to be back running.”

Robinson was signed as an undrafted free agent following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. Since then, he’s accounted for 1,837 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. He’s added 80 receptions for 566 yards and three receiving TDs. His importance to the Jaguars’ offense can’t be overstated.

“When I’m ready, I’ll be ready. You guys know,” he added.

And when he’s ready, there’s no question that he likely is going to resume his role as the team’s No. 1 back. Though there’s plenty of excitement surrounding second-year RB Travis Etienne - who had to work his way back from his injury -, there’s no question of the importance of having Robinson back.

Robinson is a quintessential “do it all” running back, with an ability to run between the tackles, outside, make players miss, and catch the ball out of the backfield to go along with his prowess as a blocker on third downs.

While he lacks a bit of speed that Etienne is certain to bring, Robinson is one of the more important pieces of stabilizing a young and hungry Jaguars offensive backfield.

“He’s kind of itching to get back, but [we need to] take our time. We’re not going to win a game right now,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said of Robinson earlier this month.

“We need everybody to get healthy, so that’s the biggest thing. He understands that, so [he’s] just taking his time and making sure he’s healthy before he comes back, but I know he’s really excited. Just to see the way this offseason has gone; we’ve had conversations and just really excited about where we’re headed.”

Robinson’s return will certainly be welcomed by Lawrence, but also his head coach, Pederson, who stressed the importance of the third-year back earlier this month, too when asked about the versatility and excitement of having a fully healthy RB room.

“But again, it goes back to the amount of touches with one football, so he’s [RB James Robinson] definitely a player that we want to consider,” Pederson added.

The Jaguars are certainly not counting out Robinson, who is slated to return sometime before the start of the season, and they shouldn’t be. As for Robinson himself, he’s not only looking forward to his own return but also that of the team’s other top back in Etienne.

“I’m very excited,” he said of Etienne’s return. “Last year was just a bummer. You couldn’t see him do what he does. This year, just watching him practice and everything, I think he’ll be great.”

The Jaguars will return to the gridiron on July 25th, the first day of training camp, with players reporting on July 24.