Brian Robinson wasn’t eligible for Comeback Player of the Year

Washington Commanders v San Francisco 49ers
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On Wednesday, the NFL announced the finalists for its various 2022 regular-season awards. Many were surprised by the fact that Commanders running back Brian Robinson wasn’t among the three finalists for Comeback Player of the Year.

The finalists were, and are, Giants running back Saquon Barkley, 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

Robinson was omitted not because he didn’t get enough votes, but because the 50 voters weren’t allowed to vote for Robinson.

I know this because, for the first time, I was one of the 50 voters. (I know. What’s the world coming to?) I tried put Robinson on my Comeback Player of the Year ballot. I was told he’s not eligible, based on longstanding Associated Press rules.

“Rookies aren’t eligible for the award because it recognizes players who were in the NFL the previous season or prior years,” Rob Maaddi of the AP recently told PFT via text message. “Robinson’s case is unique and presents another reason to consider amending the rule.”

The AP has made several changes to the voting this year under Maaddi’s leadership, including the ability of voters to vote for five MVP candidates and three candidates for all other awards. More changes could be coming.

The arbitrary decision to exclude rookies should be one of the changes that the AP made. Robinson literally came back from being shot. If that doesn’t make him one of the finalists for Comeback Player of the Year, I don’t know what does.

9 responses to “Brian Robinson wasn’t eligible for Comeback Player of the Year

  1. If there was a Most Improved Player award would he be eligible? No, because he wasn’t in the league. Same principle applies here.

  2. I mean, shouldn’t Damar Hamlin be eligible? True, he couldn’t come back to play but he did comeback to life on the literal field.

  3. “The NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award is presented by the Professional Football Writers of America to the player in the National Football League (NFL) who shows perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, overcoming a severe injury, or simply a poor performance.”

  4. By those rules Geno Smith shouldn’t be eligible for a Comeback award either since this is the first season of his career he was actually good!

  5. YO ! Where’s Brandon Graham ? He was out all last season with an Achilles injury came back this year at age 34 and had 11 sacks ! C’Mon Man !

  6. He didn’t have a hardship that required him to comeback from while in the league. Players who return from injuries, retirement or having been benched/waived can make comebacks. Players shot, injured at the Combine or a Bowl game, simply aren’t in the NFLPA. The rules need not change.

  7. The rules shouldn’t be changed because of an outlier. Rookies are not and should not be eligible.

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