By Brady Henderson
Fullback Michael Robinson tweeted what appeared to be a goodbye to Seahawks fans on Friday, an indication that he'll be released when rosters are trimmed to 53 on Saturday.
Been real #12thMan will always have love for ya— Michael Robinson (@RealMikeRob) August 31, 2013
The Seahawks have not announced any move with Robinson and aren't expected to do so until Saturday's 3 p.m. deadline to comply with the 53-man roster limit. The league's official website, however, lists Robinson as having been released. The reaction from some of Robinson's teammates, including quarterback and fellow Richmond, Va. native Russell Wilson, seemed to confirm as much.
"I'm going to miss you RealMikeRob. You're the best in the business. Love you VA," Wilson tweeted.
There has been plenty of speculation that Seattle could part ways with Robinson, 30, in a cost-saving move. He's among the league's highest-paid fullbacks with a contract that is scheduled to pay him $2.5 million this season, which is by no means a prohibitive amount but significantly more money than Seattle would have to commit to the position by instead keeping either Derrick Coleman or Spencer Ware, who are in their second and first year, respectively.
The argument against releasing Robinson was that the money the Seahawks would save by doing so wouldn't justify what they'd lose by parting ways with a veteran player who has been the epitome of versatility.
Robinson has been an integral part of Seattle's running game since he was signed in 2010 after his release from the 49ers. Not only an adept lead blocker with a Pro Bowl on his resume and an obvious rapport with running back Marshawn Lynch, Robinson was a team leader and one of its most popular players as well as a special-teams captain.
But combine his salary, age and the reality that he's missed the last two weeks with an unspecified illness that could have threatened his availability for the regular-season opener and it's not entirely surprising that Seattle chose to release him.
"The business side of the NFL. Sucks for both fans and players," cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted.
For as much as Robinson brought to the table, he knew that didn't guarantee him a spot on Seattle's roster.
"Every day you're on edge because you might lose your job," he told Jim Moore earlier this month. "That's the environment (coach) Pete (Carroll) has here – you're constantly competing to keep your job."
It's possible that Seattle attempts to re-sign Robinson at a reduced salary. For now though, his release leaves Ware and Coleman as the Seahawks' in-house options at fullback. Seattle drafted Ware in the sixth round with the intention of using him as a fullback, but it's been Coleman who seen the most time of late as Seattle's lead blocker. Coleman, undrafted in 2012, started Thursday night's preseason finale while Robinson missed his second straight game with an illness that coach Pete Carroll characterized as "a virus that hit him pretty hard."