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Details Have Emerged From NFL's Comeback Player Controversy

NFL logo on football

PHOENIX - JULY 20: A detail view of a football shows the redesigned NFL Shield logo during a photo shoot on July 20, 2008 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images)

The NFL announced Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, and Geno Smith as finalists for the 2022 AP Comeback Player of the Year. Some fans wondered about a notable exclusion.

Brian Robinson isn't up for the award despite playing 12 games after getting shot twice in late August. However, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, who was one of 50 voters, explained that the Washington Commanders running back wasn't eligible.

"Rookies aren’t eligible for the award because it recognizes players who were in the NFL the previous season or prior years," Rob Maaddi of the AP told Florio. "Robinson’s case is unique and presents another reason to consider amending the rule."

This rule typically makes sense, as a rookie can't usually have a comeback season in the inaugural year. However, Robinson made his NFL debut six weeks after getting shot.

That's quite the comeback.

In fairness, Comeback Player of the Year is always a tricky award to decipher with arbitrary criteria. One can argue that Smith's breakout year isn't a comeback because he never played nearly as well before 2022.

Luckily an award isn't necessary to acknowledge and appreciate Robinson's remarkable recovery.