Stacy Robinson, who played on two Super Bowl winners in a six-year career spent entirely with the Giants, passed away yesterday after battling cancer. He was 50.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Stacy Robinson," said John Mara, the Giants president and chief executive officer. "He was a good man who was loved and respected by his teammates and everyone in this organization. His work on behalf of the Players Association was of great benefit to many players. He will be missed. His family is in our thoughts and prayers."
Robinson played for the Giants from 1985-90 and was a member of the teams that won Super Bowls XXI and XXV. He played in 43 regular season games and caught 48 passes for 749 yards and seven touchdowns. After retirement, he helped countless players through his work at the NFL Players Association, where he oversaw steroids and drug policy issues and was most recently director of player development.
When former teammates and coaches think of Robinson, what comes to mind is his perpetually sunny disposition.
"He was a class act who was always a real, real pleasure to be around," said Tom Coughlin, who was Robinson's wide receivers coach on the Giants from 1988-90. "Stacy was just a great guy to coach. Great guy to be with, be around. He was always positive, always thinking in terms of how he could help benefit the rest of us, the team."
"We always hear that 'so and so' is a nice guy, but it really was true about Stacy," said Phil Simms, the Giants' great quarterback of that era. "He might be one of the few people that I've ever met or known that everybody truly liked. I think that's just personality. He could get along with everybody, no matter what the situation. Stacy had a tremendous sense of humor and if you were going to say something about him, you better get ready, because man it was coming back fast. He was so quick it was hilarious. He was definitely a match for a guy like Bill Parcells or anybody that has that really quick wit."
According to a family statement posted on CaringBridge.org, a hospice website, Robinson was diagnosed in 2009 with multiple myeloma – cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. After treatments that included chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and a bone marrow transplant, Robinson entered hospice care on May 3. He died five days later.
Robinson joined the Giants as a second-round draft choice (46th overall selection) in 1985 from North Dakota State, where he set several school records. He suffered a broken hand two days before the season opener in his rookie season, missed the first 12 games and ended the season without a reception.
The 1986 championship season was Robinson's best. He had career-high totals of 29 catches for 494 yards and scored two touchdowns, despite missing four games with a sprained ankle. In a come-from-behind Monday night victory in San Francisco, Robinson caught five passes for 116 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown and an acrobatic 49-yarder that set up Ottis Anderson's go-head one-yard touchdown run.
"If we had the rules that we have now, they would have reviewed it and Stacy's catch would have been a touchdown," Simms said. "But they marked it on about the half-foot line. That was a huge catch."
Robinson led the Giants with 62 receiving yards on three catches in the Super Bowl XXI victory over the Denver Broncos. His catches included a 36-yarder that set up a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
"He had a couple of big catches in the Super Bowl – and he could've had many more," Simms said. "Stacy and I must've talked 10 times during the Super Bowl. We looked at each other and I'd go, 'I know it's there, Stacy. I'm trying to get it to you.' I couldn't get to him. Finally, in the fourth quarter I threw that seam pass down the left sideline and hit him after he and I had been talking about it for three quarters. So we hit it – I think it's even on TV – you see us walk by and give each other a really vigorous hand slap because, 'Alright. There, we finally got that one done.' We had talked about it on the bench, during timeouts and in the huddle. We knew there were certain plays that I could throw to him where he knew he was going to be wide open, but we just couldn't get to him."
Robinson caught touchdown passes in each of the first two games of the 1987 season but later fractured his fibula and finished with six catches. The following season he was released and re-signed and had seven receptions, including a career-long 62-yard touchdown. He also scored on two touchdown passes from Simms in a victory over the Phoenix Cardinals. Robinson caught four passes in 1989 and two in 1990 and retired soon after the Giants defeated Buffalo in Super Bowl XXV.
"Stacy was very smart, logical, he understood the big picture and he reinforced what you believed in as a coach – the hard work and the effort," Coughlin said. "He was always a great team guy who was very supportive of his teammates. He was a pro. He worked his butt off. You could always talk to him. Whether he was a starter or a backup or however it worked out, once he understood, he was very supportive."
"My gosh, I don't remember him being in a down mood - I swear, never," Simms said. "I don't know if I can say that about anybody. We all have mood swings. I'm sure he had them, but it never showed. He always had that little smile on his face. It's funny, he did get a little heavy after his playing career. So that was the butt of many jokes and it didn't faze him. Like I said, he had the ammo ready. Man, he would tear up anybody that started picking on him. I think that's how most people remember him and that's why so many people thought so highly of him."
Robinson was born on February 19, 1962 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is survived by his wife, Nadine, his sons Stacy, Myles, and Marquis, his sisters Candace and Kim, his brothers Leighton and Ramonn.