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Temple football players learn what it’s like coming back from COVID-19

Tight end David Martin-Robinson returned to practice Tuesday after his second stint with COVID-19.

Temple's David Martin-Robinson has come back twice from possible COVID-19 exposure.
Temple's David Martin-Robinson has come back twice from possible COVID-19 exposure.Read moreGail Burton / AP

Temple redshirt sophomore tight end David Martin-Robinson has become an expert on a subject he could do without.

Martin-Robinson has been in COVID-19 protocol twice this season, each for two weeks at a time. He was among 15 players who did not play during Saturday’s 47-23 loss to visiting SMU due to COVID-19.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Martin-Robinson returned to practice on Tuesday from his most recent stint, and is looking forward to being an integral part of the team when Temple (1-4 overall and in the American Athletic Conference) visits Central Florida (4-2, 3-2) forSaturday’s 7:30 p.m. game in Orlando.

“I am juiced up today,” Martin-Robinson said on a Zoom interview. “I felt like I was flying around in practice and even just between drills and stuff. I was just moving just because I could again.”

In addition to the return of Martin-Robinson, quarterback Anthony Russo, who missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, returned to practice and was taking first-team reps on Tuesday.

Coach Rod Carey said that if Russo responds well this week in practice, he will start. If not, redshirt sophomore Re-al Mitchell will get the call.

Martin-Robinson said he is definitely playing this week. His first stint on the COVID-19 protocol list came in August after a teammate tested positive. This most recent time, he returned to the list after his girlfriend, a student at Temple, contracted the virus.

He returned from his first time on the list and started well, with eight receptions for 108 yards in Temple’s first two games before missing the last three.

Martin-Robinson returned from his second protocol on Friday and dressed for Saturday’s loss. Since he didn’t practice, he would have played only in an emergency situation.

Martin-Robinson said that, since he wasn’t ill, he was able to work out, and that has helped him stay in shape. He said that participating in practice will prepare him for Saturday.

“I definitely feel I’m ready now. I’ve gotten some lifts and some running in under my belt,” he said. “So I feel ready to go again.”

Teammate Vincent Picozzi also spent two weeks on COVID-19 protocol during the preseason. Like Martin-Robinson, he didn’t have the virus but was there due to contact tracing.

Picozzi, who has played guard and tackle this season, has started all five games. He has 33 career starts. Picozzi returned to practice, 10 days before the Owls opening 31-29 loss at Navy.

“It wasn’t anything I have done before, trying to get a whole camp’s worth of conditioning back in 10 days. So, I mean it was challenging,” Picozzi said. “I got an underwater treadmill, the bike, running on the field, so it was just one thing after another. Just stay on top of it, and working with the training staff was the key for me.”

Picozzi has been advising others who have returned from the list on how to prepare to get back in football shape.

“Once guys come back, just trying to stay with them, and talk them through it because I have been through it,” Picozzi said. “They are going through it right now, so just staying with them is helping bringing the team all together.”