College Football Countdown: No. 89 Dave Robinson


Penn State and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame defensive end/linebacker Dave Robinson owes much of his success to garbage.

When the former two-way Nittany Lions standout Robinson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997, he explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer the role garbage collection played in building him into a productive athlete.

“Before my junior year at Moorestown [High School], I started working on a trash truck during the summer,” Robinson recalled. “Throwing trash cans all day long helps build up your body. I had always had a great grip in football because I used to carry two trash cans with each hand.”

One man’s trash is another’s Hall of Fame bust.

Dave Robinson matched his place in college football lore with a 2013 induction into the Pro Hall in Canton.

As a member of the NFL’s All-1960s Team and champion in each of the first two Super Bowls, his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame was long overdue. So, too, was induction into the collegiate version, three-and-a-half decades after his illustrious tenure in Happy Valley ended.

Robinson flourished in the latter days of college football’s one-platoon system. Under NCAA rules at the time, players lined up on both offense and defense.

Robinson played a vital role for the Nittany Lions on both sides, as a defensive end and a pass-catching tight end.

Because two-way play was the demand of the game at the time, Dave Robinson’s contributions are perhaps easily overlooked — even if he excelled both offensively and defensively. However, his translation to special teams as a placekicker, booming the ball with his left foot to garner the nickname “Lefty,” makes Robinson’s one of the most unique stories in the game.

Small wonder a teen who turned collecting garbage into a skill-building exercise became a man who made the most of whatever opportunity he had to play.