Rams activate A’Shawn Robinson, who could make debut Sunday in Miami

A'Shawn Robinson works out.
A'Shawn Robinson works out on his own hoping to make his debut with the Rams soon.
(Gary Klein / Los Angeles Times)

The NFL trading deadline is Tuesday, and these Rams never have been shy about making a splash.

In 2018 they traded for edge rusher Dante Fowler. Last season they dealt cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens and then traded for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

The Rams are 5-2 heading into Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, and coach Sean McVay said Friday he did not anticipate the team making any “crazy moves” by the deadline.

But the Rams strengthened their roster Friday by activating defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson from the non-injury reserve list.


“We’re getting him back,” McVay said during a videoconference, then joked, “We just traded for him.”

McVay said he had not yet determined whether Robinson would be active against the Dolphins. After an off week, the Rams play the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 15.

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“If it’s not this week, then definitely after the bye,” McVay said. “We look forward to getting him back rolling with us, because he’s going to be a big addition and big boost to our team.”

Robinson, who has been practicing since last week, welcomed the return to the roster.

“I’m excited to get out there and finally line it up with those guys,” he said Friday.

Robinson, 25, played for the Detroit Lions for four seasons before signing a two-year contract with the Rams that included $9.5 million in guarantees. The Rams signed Robinson ostensibly to replace Michael Brockers, who had agreed to terms with the Ravens. But when Brockers’ deal fell through, the Rams re-signed him.

Robinson participated in the virtual offseason program but was placed on the non-injury reserve list Aug. 8 for what team officials said was an unspecified condition that occurred before training camp.

Neither McVay nor Robinson gave specifics Friday.

Asked if it was cardiac condition, McVay said he was attempting to be sensitive to conditions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but said, “it was something in that arena.” Robinson said it was a “respiratory situation” but did not provide details. Asked if it was related to COVID-19, he said no.

It’s mathematically possible — though highly unlikely — for all four NFC West teams make the playoffs, now that there is a third wild-card team. But division showdowns should reveal best of West.

“I try to keep it in the past and not worry about it,” he said.

The Rams defense mostly has done well in Robinson’s absence. The unit ranks sixth in the NFL, giving up 312.9 yards per game. The Rams are second in points allowed (17.7 per game) and tied for third with 24 sacks.

Brockers, Aaron Donald and Sebastian Joseph-Day are starters, and Morgan Fox and Greg Gaines have been valuable rotational players. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound Robinson will add versatility to the group, defensive coordinator Brandon Staley said.

“You could feel him even in practice; the size, the athleticism, it shows up,” Staley said. “We’re looking forward to getting him in some of these live-game settings and doing what he’s done throughout his career and I think it will be a big boost to us.”

Robinson said it had been “very annoying” not being able to be on the field with teammates for so long. But he said teammates, coaches and family members kept him motivated.

“It’s real brotherhood here,” he said. “It’s very different from where I’ve been.”

Robinson observed drills and performed individual conditioning before the Rams moved him from the non-injury list last week, giving the team a 21-day window to activate him to the roster.

When he finally got back onto the practice field, Robinson appeared elated.

“I was kind of like on the fence, like one of those dogs that’s just waiting — they’re waiting and excited,” he said. “So the day I got out there I couldn’t stop smiling. I wanted to jump, run around everywhere.”

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been so dominant through seven games, he seems to be the front-runner to win his third defensive player of the year award.

There is a difference between practice and being in shape to play in games, Staley said, and the Rams will be cautious in deciding when Robinson will play.

Robinson said he would be ready Sunday if called upon.

“I’m always ready,” he said.


Tight end Tyler Higbee (hand) was limited and will be a game-time decision, McVay said. “It’s really just being able to gauge, ‘OK, when we’re playing live football, what do you have to do with that hand? Are you going to be able to contribute and play at a level that’s in alignment with the player he is?’ He’s so tough to be able to push through that, but we also want to be smart.” … Kicker Kai Forbath concluded his first week of practice, and McVay is eager for him to play Sunday. “In the times that we did do field goals, it was basically automatic,” McVay said. “It seemed like he seamlessly fit right in.”