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Brian Robinson Jr. Named Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year

Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. has been named Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year, SI announced Thursday evening.

The Washington rookie has been the centerpiece of a surprising Commanders team after a harrowing incident that cost him the first four games of his rookie season.

As he attempted to leave a restaurant in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, Robinson was shot twiceonce in the knee and once in the glute. The injuries were determined to not be life-threatening, but Washington coach Ron Rivera said in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that it would be “a matter of time before he’s back out there.”

Robinson’s recovery progressed quickly, and he made his NFL debut on Oct. 9, rushing nine times for 22 yards against the Titans.

“The fact that I can walk off the field healthy and come back … and get ready to do it all over again is pretty good,” Robinson told reporters after the game, before which he memorably took the field to 50 Cent’s “Many Men (Wish Death).”

The rookie improved in tandem with Washington; the Commanders are 7-5-1 and chasing a wild-card berth.

Robinson, meanwhile, rushed for his first career touchdown against the Bears on Oct. 13 and burned the Falcons for 105 yards on Nov. 27.

Before his August ordeal, Robinson played on two national championship teams at Alabama and was named All-SEC in 2021. He was the MVP of the Crimson Tide’s Cotton Bowl win over Cincinnati, and Washington selected him in the third round of the NFL draft in April.