Somber Jaguars RB Denard Robinson practicing after friend's death
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Denard Robinson has a new T-shirt hanging in his locker that he plans to wear under his Jacksonville Jaguars jersey this season.
It contains a simple message, one few people will ever see and even fewer would understand.
"Be Like Carlos."
For Robinson, though, it means everything. The former Michigan All-American is mourning the death of one of his best friends, 25-year-old Carlos Senluis. Senluis was shot and killed in a road rage incident in Deerfield Beach earlier this month, and Robinson is still trying to cope with the loss.
"He was like a brother to me," Robinson said Tuesday. "I grew up with him. His mom was my mom. My mom was his mom. He would hang out at my house without me being there, and I could do that same with his family. That's how close we were."
Robinson missed one day of training camp to attend Senluis' funeral, but was unable to make a public tribute at Deerfield Beach High School, where Robinson was a football/track superstar and Senluis was a standout baseball player.
So Robinson has something of his own planned. A college quarterback turned NFL running back, Robinson plans to dedicate his first touchdown this season to the memory of his friend and give the ball to Senluis' mother.
He knows it won't take away the pain, but he hopes the gesture will be another reminder of how much he loved and misses his friend.
"It's been tough," Robinson said. "Just seeing somebody that you really care about gone and then you see his mom. She's like my mom."
According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, Senluis and a passenger, another close friend of Robinson's, were driving home on Aug. 5 around 10:30 p.m. when Senluis apparently flashed his headlights at another car. The driver of the other car, 28-year-old Clarck Paul, followed Senluis home and then opened fire into the car after an unprovoked exchange.
After shooting Senluis, Paul drove to North Lauderdale, where he shot and killed another man. Investigators believe Paul, who has a lengthy criminal record, was on his way to kill the second man because he was a witness in a separate attempted murder.
The shootings took place about half an hour apart that Friday night, detectives said.
Robinson had just finished a scrimmage at EverBank Field when he got the call that Senluis had been shot. Robinson called his brothers -- he has five of them -- and asked them to go help. They obliged, but there was little they could do.
Senluis, who played college baseball at New Mexico Junior College and then Florida Memorial University in Miami, was rushed to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
Paul was arrested a few hours later and jailed on two murder charges.
Robinson practiced the next day with a heavy heart and has offered to help however the family needs.
"Carlos' mom said this to me and it's something that stood out," Robinson said. Paul "gets to breathe. He gets to talk to his mom again. He gets to still lift weights and do different things while her son is in the grave. I can't believe that."