Greg Robinson was alone in the locker room for a few moments Sunday after his costly second-quarter ejection.
A few minutes later, he was joined by Kendall Lamm, the lineman who replaced him for four plays before going down with a knee injury. The consequences of Robinson’s actions hit even harder.
Robinson said he didn’t want to interfere with the game-planning and discussions that carried on throughout halftime but when he had the opportunity, he delivered apologies individually or to small groups of players.
“It is something you hate to see,” Robinson said. “I hurt the team obviously, and I feel like if I could have it back, I would do things differently.”
Check out the best photos from the Cleveland Browns game against the Tennessee Titans yesterday
Ultimately, Robinson’s actions couldn’t be undone. He was ejected in the second quarter for kicking Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro as he tried to get up from a pileup following a run play.
For four plays, the Browns had Lamm in Robinson’s spot. Then, Lamm went down with a knee injury, forcing right tackle Chris Hubbard to move to the left side and Justin McCray, a guard Cleveland acquired last week from Green Bay, to play right tackle. There was no more room for error, as the Browns’ remaining five linemen were on the field for the final 46 offensive snaps.
It wasn’t an ideal situation, to say the least, but the Browns held their own, coach Freddie Kitchens said.
“They kept fighting,” Kitchens said. “They kept giving us a chance at times. I am good with what they had to do overcoming a couple of tackles that were not there. We took seven guys to the game, and you really do not want to play but five. We played seven. When that happens, it is kind of a worst-case scenario, and those guys hung in there. They were not perfect by any stretch of imagination, but they did give us a chance.”
The Browns are hoping they won’t need to dig that deep again. Both Kitchens and Robinson were hopeful he wouldn’t miss any more time as the league reviews the play and mulls whether to levy any more suspensions or fines.
Robinson on Monday said it wasn’t intentional, even though it may have appeared that way on a replay.
“I didn’t know he was even falling toward me, but as I hit the ground I saw him and my foot just made contact,” Robinson said. “I think it looked worse than it was.
“I don’t ever want to be labeled a dirty player. I try my best to keep the game clean because I know sometimes we are targeted based on reputation. It’s something I can’t control. I just have to play each play one play at a time.”
For now, Robinson and the rest of Cleveland’s players are focused on not repeating the numerous mistakes that turned Sunday’s promising season opener into the downer it became.
“Greg is very remorseful,” Kitchens said. “It does not do us any good now. He understands what he did was wrong, and that won’t happen again.”