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After Injury Derails NFL Career, Paramus Quarterback Finds New Life

John Robertson and his parents
John Robertson and his parents Photo Credit: COURTESY: John Robertson

PARAMUS, N.J. -- He was a dual threat quarterback, often tempting the fates as a Paramus High School quarterback when tucking the ball.

All the while escaping injury.

"I was fortunate enough to have a career where I (also) didn't get hurt for years of college," borough native John Robertson said. "It is a physical sport and it (injuries) come with the territory."

But after an injury derailed the athletes' chances of continuing with the NFL, Robertson is taking some time to reflect.

Robertson started in fourth grade as a running back before a seventh grade coach made him a quarterback.

The athlete was the starting quarterback sophomore year, and was above the fray on the gridiron.

"I think I threw four touchdowns in my first varsity game," said Robertson, unable to remember which defense he bested that day.

Two years later and he was being recruited to play in the NCAA — Villanova his first scholarship offer for football.

He took it, and also for academics.

"What I wanted to do after football, I thought Villanova could help me the most of the colleges I could go to," he said.

When he started his redshirt freshman season his successes continued and ambitions grew.

"I won the Jerry Rice award for best Freshman at the FCS level," he said. "I saw the other guys who had won that award and where they had gone."

In the third game of his third season as a redshirt junior, the Wildcats played Delaware in a season full of lofty hopes following Robertson's Walter Payton award for best offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision the year before.

"I was feeling really good during that game, and I got hit late out of bounds," recalls Robertson. "I played about three more plays and eventually when I tried to step a certain way my whole knee shifted out of place. I had never had that feeling before."

In the first few minutes after his injury he was worried about whether he would have to wear a knee brace. The tests done by trainers showed a torn PCL.

Robertson did everything he could to get back, even flying down to meet with guru doc James Andrews for a consultation. His six-month rehab plan was in lieu of surgery and he was healthy enough to host a pro day for scouts after missing the NFL combine a month earlier.

A strong pro day performance and continued rehab work led to a chance at the Baltimore Ravens rookie mini-camp. It never led to a roster spot.

Robertson still harbors hopes and dreams of the NFL and at 23 years old with trophies on his shelf he shares with Tony Romo and Jimmy Garappolo, it could be within reason.

Today, his days are spent working for UBS financial planners. "Either path, I am so grateful I have had the opportunity."

He hasn't closed the door on NFL dreams but in some ways has moved on, not dwelling on the past.

"There is not one thing I can look back on and say I would have done it differently."

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