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Palladino: Stacy Robinson Was More Than A Giant

(credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns

This blog was all set to feature a dissertation on the Mother’s Day return of Andy Pettitte to the Yankees’ pitching rotation.

Then came news that Stacy Robinson died on Tuesday.

The younger folks out there may not remember the name. But for those of us who hung out in the Giants’ locker room in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Robinson was one of the bright lights. Not a great player, mind you. But a really nice guy who wasn’t afraid to get his uniform dirty catching a pass in traffic.

He was Phil Simms’ third or fourth receiving option, really, behind Mark Ingram, Stephen Baker and Lionel Manuel in that 1990 Super Bowl season, his sixth and final year in uniform. In between his time as a second-round draft pick in 1985 out of North Dakota State and retirement as a player, he not only picked up two Super Bowl rings, but found time to finish the bulk of his Masters Degree in business administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Just as impressive, he was a good guy in the locker room. Always quick with a smile and a quip, he was an outstanding quote for us newspaper folks (no Twitter, blogs or websites back then, you know). And if you weren’t looking for something to fill out a story, just hanging around his locker always proved a pleasant respite from the seemingly endless wait for your appointed subject to come out of the shower.

For this writer, the most memorable Robinson moment came at the end of the 1990 championship game in San Francisco. As Matt Bahr set up for his winning 42-yard field goal as time expired in that 15-13 win, the Giants who weren’t on special teams lined up on the sideline, holding hands. Some, like the religious Robinson, were talking to a power higher than the ones wearing striped shirts on either side of the goalposts.

Bahr’s kick went through, and the Giants took off that very night for Tampa and their Super Bowl XXV victory over the Bills.

But in the postgame locker room, it was Robinson who explained the sideline stand.

“That was our ‘Selfish Prayer,’” Robinson said, meaning that they were praying for themselves, for the win. Robinson knew it was a departure from a typical prayer that asks that others be helped, but he felt it reasonable under the circumstances.

Also admirable was his decision to step away from his career to finish his education, which he later parlayed into a career with the NFLPA overseeing the league’s policy on drugs and steroids. He also worked in the player development office, where he encouraged stars and scrubs alike to prepare for their football afterlife.

Former Giants offensive lineman Roman Oben was one of them.

“Stacy Robinson was a true mentor,” Oben tweeted. “Encouraged me to be one of few NFL players to earn my Master’s Degree DURING my NFL career.”

We’d see him around at Super Bowls, heavier and more barrel-chested than he ever was as a 5-foot-11 receiver in the era before power forwards disguised as pass-catchers took over the game. But that smile that told everybody that he’d had it good — and he knew it == was always there, along with a happy conversation.

He fought cancer the best he could, going from chemotherapy to a stem-cell transplant since his diagnosis in 2009. But it all ended with him going into hospice care a week ago.

Too bad. The world could have used another 20 years or so of Robinson’s influence.

What are your memories of the late, great Stacy Robinson during his five-year career with the Giants? Share your memories and comments in the section below…