NFL questioning Falcons about Bijan Robinson not being on the injury report

Bijan Robinson, shown here against the Washington Commanders, saw limited action in the 16-13 win over the Bucs. (Miguel Martinez/miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com)

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Bijan Robinson, shown here against the Washington Commanders, saw limited action in the 16-13 win over the Bucs. (Miguel Martinez/miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons’ handling of Bijan Robinson’s sickness/headache has caught the attention of the NFL, the league confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.

The NFL wants to know why the Falcons did not update their injury report when they found out about Robinson’s ailment. The rookie running back played only 11 snaps and had one carry for 3 yards in the 16-13 win over the Bucs on Sunday. He did not have a touch in the first half when he played seven snaps.

The Falcons declined to comment Monday evening. ESPN originally reported that the NFL was looking into the matter.

At halftime of the game, coach Arthur Smith told Fox Sports that Robinson was “not feeling well.” After the game, Robinson addressed his health.

“It was just me coming here and not feeling right over the air waves, off the plane,” Robinson said. “Then (Saturday) night it was just more of me trying to sleep and get my head right. I woke up this morning feeling super, super down. Just like, I don’t know what happened. … It was hard to sleep. I was just trying to find my groove. I was over the toilet last night. Just trying to get out of it. I woke up this morning, and I wasn’t feeling good at all.”

Robinson was asked if he’d taken a COVID-19 test or an concussion test. He said that he had not.

Smith didn’t have much to say Monday about Robinson’s status.

“We (have) some guys with minor bumps and bruises,” Smith said. “Nothing that we are concerned about long-term. Like a lot of our guys that played yesterday, I think he’ll be fine.”

Smith checked on Robinson pregame and determined that he was going to be active and play a smaller role.

“I always do a final check,” Smith said. “Then you talk to the player, the situation felt good that he’d be available. We’ll just see how the game went. But in the end, he asked if he could go.”

Robinson basically was available for the two-minute offense while Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier handled the heavy lifting. Robinson’s only carry was on first-and-10 from the 36 in the game-winning drive.

The NFL takes the failure to report injuries as a serious matter. The Falcons filed their injury report Friday with no players on it. The league likely will contend that they needed to update the report after finding out about Robinson’s ailment.

The Falcons likely will contend that he played with the ailment, so they didn’t need to file an update.

In 2019, the league fined the Steelers $75,000 and coach Mike Tomlin $25,000 for violating the injury-report policy in a matter involving quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Robinson played 33 of 52 offensive snaps (63%) against Carolina in the season opener. He played 59 of 82 (79%) against the Packers, 54 of 67 snaps (81%) against Detroit, 44 of 58 (76%) against Jacksonville, 47 of 77 (61%) against Houston and 65 of 83 (77%) against Washington.

Robinson play ranged from 61% up to 81% before Sunday. By playing only 11 of 65 snaps (17%) apparently caught the attention of the league office.

Robinson, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2023 draft, has rushed 81 times for 404 yards. He also has 26 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns.

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