PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) — He grew up at a time and in a place where the rules were study hard, work hard and make things happen. He followed those rules and they served him well.
Now he's bringing his life lessons back to the neighborhood.
“Fred Robbins; born, raised here in Pensacola, Florida. High school at Tate. Grew up in Lincoln Park,” he introduced himself.
That's the beginning of the Fred Robbins' story. There are many fabled chapters that followed those days in the neighborhood and at Tate, but it's the home training that is woven into every one of them.
“All of those other schools were recruiting me, but all my parents were educators. Education was big,” he said. “So, when I went to Wake Forest, it wasn't just about sports. The first thing they said was, hey, we guarantee you'll get your degree here.”
From Wake Forest it was a storied career as a defensive tackle in the NFL.
"The first four years, I played for the Vikings; had to get used to the cold,” he said. “After that, led me to New York for six years and had a great career there and won a Super Bowl and became all pro had some of my best years there, and I finished up my last two years at St. Louis.”
Fred Robbins retired from the game at age 35. He said he wanted to leave before his body took too much of a toll.
Fred knew he'd return to where it all began; home to Pensacola, but with a mission.
“I had a great career. I had a great time doing it, but just like anything, football was a job,” Fred said. “I can do more things than sack quarterbacks and tackle running backs. I just felt it was good to come back to my home community where I was raised, born and home grown; and just seeing some of the struggles that our community is dealing with today, I just want to put my hand in and give back.”
He is giving back through his organization, Mr. Robbins' Neighborhood. The name, gleamed from his joking teammates; the purpose is all about business.
He gives young people, especially those aspiring for sports careers, the advantage of his lessons learned.
“I can't promise them NFL, I can't promise them million dollar dreams,” Fred said. “What I can promise you is if you work hard, if you put some ethic and hard work into it, it will pay off whatever your job is, whatever career path you choose.”
Sage advice, words of wisdom, mentorship; that's what Fred brought home and what he shares in Mr. Robbins' Neighborhood.
“Seeing them take it and run with it, you're not going to reach them all but, the thing about it is, my reward is just seeing people strive,” said Fred.
Angels in Our Midst is sponsored by the Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart.