EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today retained one of their core defensive players when they re-signed linebacker Keenan Robinson.
He is the second backer brought back by the team in as many days; Mark Herzlich signed a new contract yesterday.
Robinson was one of the most valuable, if unsung, Giants linebackers in 2016, which was his first season with the team. He played in all 17 games with seven starts, including one in the NFC Wild Card Game. But the Giants lost that game, and Robinson wants to help them advance further in 2017.
“It was tough walking off the field after that loss in Green Bay,” Robinson said. “We worked so hard to get to that point, and in one game it was over. That’s how it goes in the playoffs. It was hard, because we knew we could have played much better and we knew than we were a better team that what we showed that day.
“We definitely have some unfinished business, especially after leaving with that sour taste from Green Bay,” he said. “I think we can achieve much greater heights than we did last year. I think getting right back in the building is one key to doing that.”
Robinson was a free agent for the second year in a row. Last year, he wanted to leave Washington, where he played his first four NFL seasons. This time, he wanted to stay where he was. But he had to wait until the Giants took care of other business, notably signing Jason Pierre-Paul to a long-term contract, which they accomplished last week.
“I definitely did want to make this work the whole time,” Robinson said. “The JPP thing kind of put everything on hold, because they weren’t sure what was going to happen there. I understand. It’s a business, and there’s only so much cap room. I told my agent I wanted to wait and see and hold off before I made a decision. And it ended up working out in our favor, and ended up working out in the Giants’ favor. I definitely wanted to be a part of the defense like I was last year. The patience paid off.”
In the regular season, Robinson finished fourth on the team with 79 tackles (52 solo), and he had seven passes defensed. He also had four special teams tackles (two solo). Robinson had six tackles (four solo) and knocked down a pass in the Giants’ postseason game in Green Bay.
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Robinson is entering his sixth NFL season. He signed with the Giants as a free agent on March 14, 2016, after spending his first four pro seasons with the Redskins. Robinson was a fourth-round draft choice from the University of Texas in 2012. After playing in 11 games as a rookie, he missed the entire 2013 season with a torn pectoral muscle. In 2014-15, he played in 25 games with 21 starts.
The 2016 season was the first in which he played every one of his team’s games.
“That meant a lot to me,” he said. “You see guys who can play every game, who are available and accountable, and that’s very important to me. I’ve had bumps and bruises along the way and freak injuries. When you see a guy that plays every game, it speaks to how durable he is, and how tough he is, too.”
Herzlich is entering his seventh season, all with the Giants. He joined the team as a rookie free agent in 2011 and has since played in 88 games with 17 starts. Herzlich has been one of the Giants’ most consistent special teams players.
In 2016, Herzlich played in 14 games and had seven tackles and a fumble recovery on special teams.