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With 2020 NFL season uncertain, Bears WR Allen Robinson digs in to feed Chicago kids

Robinson’s charitable foundation pivoted from education to meals because of the coronavirus outbreak, and he has been raising substantial money for the cause. Plus, a check-in on his offseason and a potential contract extension.

Allen Robinson’s Within Reach Foundation has been raising money to feed Chicago kids who are out of school because of the coronavirus.
Tim Ireland/AP

Like the rest of the country, Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson is shut in his house with no idea what’s coming next.

Fresh off a 1,000-yard season and eying more in 2020, Robinson would normally be training in New York this time of year. There’s no chance of that due to the coronavirus outbreak, so he’s doing workouts in his home gym to prepare for a season he can’t be sure will happen.

“I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around that,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times from his Chicago-area residence. “I really hope it doesn’t get that far. But I don’t think anyone has any idea what the plan of action would be if things are still being extremely affected.

“The toughest thing for me is just trying to map everything out as far as my workout regimen without having organized team stuff. I have a good plan, providing things get better over the next 60 days or so, but again, I’m not sure how things will play out.”

In the meantime, he has mobilized his Within Reach Foundation to help the Greater Chicago Food Depository feed local kids who are out of school. Robinson’s organization has focused primarily on education, but he shifted to meals once he saw the need.

His initial goal was to raise $12,000 from donors and match that amount. Then coach Matt Nagy matched the amount, and offensive tackle Charles Leno kicked in $7,200. The flood of support was “special” for Robinson, and he said he’ll be increasing his goal and the amount he’ll match soon.

He’ll need it.

Not only is Chicago a hotspot, but so is Robinson’s hometown of Detroit. He still has extensive family there, and while his effort has been solely concentrated on helping Chicago kids so far, he’s looking into how he can help Detroit, too.

“This is a vital part of kids’ lives in addition to education — being able to put food in their mouths and their families’ mouths,” Robinson said. “We’re not doing this just for notoriety. We just wanted to streamline it and bring everyone together to make an impact.”

This figured to be a blissful offseason for Robinson after a resurgent performance. In his first season fully recovered from knee surgery, he delivered 98 catches for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns as one of the few bright spots in the Bears’ offense.

That progress, combined with the fact that he’s still just 26, makes it seemingly a foregone conclusion that he’ll sign a contract extension with the Bears. His three-year, $42 million deal ends after this season.

The Bears have indicated they want to keep Robinson, and he said outright last season he desired an extension, but it hasn’t happened yet.

“I’m not sure what to expect, but everyone knows where I stand,” he said. “But after being in this industry for a while, the best thing is to not have any expectations at all... My focus is returning better than I was last year and trying to help us get to the playoffs.”