Not too many football players are able to say they played under three Hall of Fame coaches, but Dave Robinson is one of the few.
Robinson, who played from 1963-1972 for the Green Bay Packers and then two more seasons with the Washington Redskins, was able to hone his craft under the tutelage of the legendary Vince Lombardi and later George Allen.
"You never realize how great Vince was until you were coached by other people," Robinson said. "I’m not talking about George because George and Vince were very close and had some of the same philosophies. They told you the same thing a thousand times before Sunday so it would be second nature. The difference is Vince would say it a thousand different ways."
In his college days at Penn State, Robinson was under the wing of a young assistant named Joe Paterno who coached him on the offensive side of the ball. In those days as Robinson recalled, you played both ways in college, making him a standout as both an offensive and defensive lineman.
The 72-year-old Robinson is being honored by his hometown of Moorestown, NJ, for his storied legacy through the Allstate Hometown Hall of Famers program. With this honor, Robinson is receiving a plaque which will be prominently displayed in Moorestown High School along with a road sign at the city limits denoting that Robinson grew up in the town.
"It's an honor to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Robinson said. "It's an exclamation point to your career; it's pro football immortality. It's very possible a lot of friends and family won't ever get to Canton, but now there will be an example right here in Moorestown. Anybody who goes to the high school will see that plaque."
Once in the pros, Robinson caught on with the Packers as a placekicker and linebacker. He would become one of the game's greatest outside linebackers for over a decade, winning three NFL championships (two Super Bowls) in the process and become a Pro Football Hall of Famer in 2012.
For years, Robinson was considered for the Hall of Fame but was never able to hear his name called. Despite being named to three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro team, Robinson had to wait until he was nominated by the Senior Committee. Finally, Robinson got the call he thought would come to late.
"I always felt I had a Hall of Fame career," Robinson said. "I knew there was some opposition because so many Packers are in the Hall of Fame. With my defensive end Willie Davis, corner Herb Adderley and myself, the whole left side is now in. Then you have Ray Nitschke and Willie Wood up the middle in the Hall. You could line up and see five future hall of famers on one side of the field.
"I figured it would happen when I was too old to know what was going on or dead. I'm very happy to be in."
In this day and age where football - and all sports - have become big business, Robinson remembers never making much more than $80,000 in any season. Still, he wouldn't change a thing.
"I loved every minute of it," Robinson said. "If I could be younger and go back I'd play today for the same salary."