- Review: “Machete Kills”
- Concert Review: HAIM
- How to be best-in-state at the fair
- The spirits of Denton
- A living canvas
- UPC music series brings South Carolina singer to UNT
- Comedian Lechler ignores hecklers
- Festival Review: Austin City Limits
- Recap: Getting wet at Canned Festival
- Violist to perform at Voertman Hall recital
‘Next level’ series part II: Craig Robertson
Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer
Former Mean Green linebacker Craig Robertson finished his first season in the NFL playing with the Cleveland Browns (5-11).
The 6-foot-1-inch 230-pound linebacker had 93 tackles – the second most tackles on the team – one sack, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries last season.
Robertson didn’t receive his jersey and team hat on national television like the 253 players drafted in 2012. In fact, he didn’t even get an invitation to training camp after his time at UNT. Instead, he interned with the UNT athletic department for a year while he finished his master’s degree in program management.
Finally, in the last two weeks of the 2011 season, Robertson got his chance. The Browns offered him a spot on the practice squad, making $5,700 a week. Robertson accepted the offer, and coming into this season he was offered a spot on the 53-man roster, making the league’s rookie minimum of $390,000 for the year.
In an Akron Beacon Journal article teammate cornerback Dimitri Patterson said Robertson deserves everything he works for.
“I’ve been impressed with just the fact that he’s been able to come in being a free agent and wasn’t given a chance,” Patterson said. “Being out the whole year and coming back with confidence and just carrying himself like a professional during the summer leading up to training camp, every time he has been given an opportunity, he has shown that he deserves to be here. He’s definitely a diamond in the rough that was overlooked because he’s a legitimate, certified player.”
Robertson is third in UNT history for both tackles in a season and career with 133 and 381, respectively. He was named an All-American his freshman season, and as a sophomore and senior he was given Sun Belt Conference honors for leading the league in solo and total tackles.
In the offseason, Robertson still works out at the Mean Green facilities and watches spring practices when he can make it. Robertson said he wants the Mean Green to have role models.
“For our school it’s somebody for these guys to look up to,” Robertson said. “There were some guys who went to the league before I came, but not very many guys went to the league when I was here.”
On March 20, ESPNCleveland.com Browns analyst Tony Grossi reported that Robertson received a $236,962 performance-based bonus for outplaying his contract.
Browns linebacker L.J. Fort found himself in a similar situation to Robertson’s. In a Cleveland.com article he said it is nice to have somebody who knows what he’s going through.
“To have someone like Craig in the same exact position right beside me is a blessing,” Fort said. “There are a lot of similarities, especially with the motivation that comes with being undrafted. I think you’re a lot more motivated than other guys coming in, day in and day out.”
Although he’s in the NFL, Robertson said he’s not satisfied.
“I still haven’t made it,” Robertson said. “I didn’t really have that moment yet. I probably won’t have that moment until I’m done.”
Robertson said that success comes as a result of hard work and he isn’t sure why it was Cleveland that finally gave him his opportunity.
“I still don’t know to this day, but I’m happy that I got the chance to have a shot to play,” Robertson said. “It all comes from just never, never giving up.”