Eagles career: A star at UCLA, Robinson was a first-round pick in 1979 and moved into the starting lineup at inside linebacker toward the latter half of the season. He called his six seasons here a wonderful experience, ended only by his contractural dispute and holdout with owner Norman Braman before the 1985 season that sent he and others packing. "It's not that I didn't want to play for Philadelphia anymore," Robinson told writer Rich Hofmann a couple of months after leaving Philly for Oakland, where he remained for seven seasons. "I just didn't want to play for [Eagles owner] Norman Braman . . . I mean, it became hatred between me and him." Indeed, he's one of several players contacted for this series whose resentment for Braman hasn't waned, even 23 years later.
Where he is now: Living in his native Santa Rosa, Calif., at the home that he bought for his parents in 1979 with some of his signing bonus. He moved in shortly after his mother died in September 2006, a couple of weeks after a car crash. His job is serving as national sales director for a credit-card processing company, but his work is tied into the Jerry Robinson Foundation. "The reason I started [the foundation] is to help the young kids in high school, junior high and elementary school understand that life is about choices," he said. The site is www.jerryrobinson
foundation.org. "The choices we make today will change our lifes forever. I travel all across the country doing motivational and inspirational speeches about the ups and downs, the good, the bad, and the reality of making the wrong choice to use drugs or alcohol. If I can make a kid stop and think about not getting into a car with someone who has been drinking or who has been getting loaded off drugs, then my message has made a difference in their life."
An Eagles memory: He hasn't been back here, but he attended the Eagles at 49ers game earlier this fall and reunited with several members of the Eagles family, including Harold Carmichael, a godfather to one of his daughters. Oh, and he saw more than a few fans in green. "Eagles fans travel very, very well," he said admiringly.
Perspective on today's game: The difference between then and now? Linebackers make "a whole helluva lot more money now," he said by phone, and more seem to dominate the position than when he played.
- Paul Vigna