Robert Quinn has been through a life’s worth of medical issues in his 27 years on this planet.
He has had back surgery and a concussion, missing a full season’s worth of games in the past three years.
But that’s nothing compared to his biggest scare, which came a decade ago.
Quinn was diagnosed with a brain tumor while in high school. The prognosis was as grim as they come.
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“I’ve had this tumor since high school and they told me that week I wasn’t going to make it out of the hospital,” Quinn said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “It changed my whole perspective on life. It’s kind of how I am, the way I am. I don’t know if you were ever 17 and told you wouldn’t make it out of the hospital in a week. It kind of messes with you a little bit. I think it did it for the better. It makes me realize there are more important things; just football is fun. Everything is fun. But the most important thing is life. As long as you’re happy with life at the end of the day tomorrow is not promised. As long as I can wake up with a smile, it’s a blessing.”
The doctors were wrong. Quinn beat the odds. Surgery was successful and he has gone on to not only live a productive life, but become a star in the NFL.
“I get a checkup on it once a year and make sure it’s not doing anything crazy,” Quinn said. “It’s been almost 11 years. So it’s much a checkup to make sure it’s stable. Nothing crazy going on up there. I mean, it is your brain. So if that shuts down, everything pretty much shuts down. So going on 11 years, so hopefully it’s found its resting place and leaves me alone.”
Quinn spent seven, very productive seasons with the Rams and was angry they traded him to the Dolphins for essentially a fourth-round pick this offseason.
You can understand why the Rams moved on, however. They could not depend on him being the player he was when they gave him a mega contract a few years back. His spirit was willing, but his body has failed him.
“I’m trying to make sure all my injuries hold up,” Quinn said, when asked about his health.” Honestly, being here is more of a fresh start. All the old history, I don’t know. For whatever reason, things have just gone away since I got here. There’s just something about when you walk into a place and you get this feeling like you’re supposed to be there. I got one of those feelings being here. It’s still early, but I’m excited for the start.”
The Dolphins plan to use Quinn in his best role: a hand-in-the-dirt edge rusher. He struggled as a 3-4 linebacker with the Rams, but expects to line up on the right end most every passing down.
That should fit well with Miami’s other star end, Cameron Wake, who prefers to come off the left edge.
“Every time I hear about him since I’ve been here, I always hear about his work ethic, the way he takes care of himself,” said Quinn, who called Wake a “Hall of Fame” player.
One last thing: When Quinn is asked if he’s excited about joining the Dolphins or mad at the Rams for giving up on him, he responded:
“Both. This is the first time I’ve been traded. You commit yourself to someone and then you have a family member turn their back on you. Then you realize they appreciate you around here and you commit yourself to them. All it takes is for someone to rub you the wrong way one time and you keep moving. I’ve got a new family down here in Miami, and that’s all I’m concerned about.”