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Duval, Thank You

I run hard because I like to make things easier for myself. I used to watch Marshawn Lynch videos when I was growing up in Rockford. When I saw him running downhill every touch, getting his four or five yards a carry, I saw somebody who was doing work. And I remember telling myself, O.K., that’s how I want to run.

And while I’d never compare myself to Marshawn, I hope that’s how Jags fans saw me when I ran. Whether it was 10 yards or one yard, I just hope you all saw me as someone who took his opportunities and ran hard with them. Someone who put in the work.

And since I’m in a new home now, I wanted to say thank you, Duval.

I’ll be honest … when I got the call the other night from my agent saying a trade to New York might happen, I wasn’t sure what to feel. I’ve been so focused since I got in the league, just trying to stick around, trying to prove myself. And sometimes you forget about the business side of things. But I’m grateful for Jacksonville. They gave me a shot at this NFL dream.

Duval, Thank You | James Robinson | New York Jets | The Players’ Tribune
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My whole life, I feel like I’ve been slept on — that’s just been my journey. But it’s funny, toward the end of the draft in 2020, I was kind of hoping my name wouldn’t get called. Because I knew if it didn’t, then I’d have a chance to help shape my situation, and pick where I’d go prove myself. And that’s what happened. There were a couple of options, but I went with Jacksonville because the fit stood out among the rest. I felt like the Jags were open to me earning a spot. So I went to camp and did what I do best: run hard. And they noticed that.

Everything since then, man, it’s just like everything before it … it hasn’t been easy. We had our struggles, no way around that. My injury was very tough and came at the worst time. But even with those adversities, I’ll also look back on being a Jaguar with so many positive feelings. 

I felt like I found different parts of my game and showed what I was capable of. I’m proud of how I came back from my Achilles. And I felt love from Jags fans every step of the way, I really did. I heard the cheers outside the facility, I saw my name on a few jerseys at The Bank. There are some great people in Duval, and great football people. The support meant a lot to me. And it still does, even on my way out. 

And things are looking better for the Jags —  the sky’s the limit for those guys. Even with these losses, there’s a lot of buy-in. Trev, Travis … and they got some boys on D … they’ll continue to be game changers for a long time. It’s a good culture. And I feel proud to have been a part of that.

Duval, Thank You | James Robinson | New York Jets | The Players’ Tribune
Courtney Culbreath/Getty

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about coming to the Jets. We’ve got a really good team here, and they’ve been putting the league on notice for sure. I can’t wait to get out there and be a part of it — to show this city and Jets fans what I’m capable of. 

But before I suit up, I just wanted to make sure I saluted Duval. You all believed in me first, back when there wasn’t a whole lot of people believing. I’ll always remember that. Thanks for the opportunity and for the love, and good luck the rest of this season (except on December 22).

Time for me to keep running hard.