Essendon's treatment of the high-performance coach who went by the ill-fated nickname of ''The Weapon'' remains one of the great mysteries of the supplements scandal that has engulfed the club and still threatens the make-up of the 2013 competition.
Dean Robinson came to Windy Hill at the end of 2011, having spent a year with Gold Coast and then, reportedly, chose to return to Victoria for family reasons.
He signed a lucrative three-year contract with the Bombers, having been lured to the club by his former employer at Geelong, Mark Thompson, who, as a senior assistant to coach James Hird, was pushing, along with Hird, a more intensive strength and conditioning campaign.
Robinson's profile rose not only because of his nickname and the occasionally apocryphal stories that accompanied his reputation, but because high-performance coaches were in the news - not always for good reason.
The AFL Commission was increasingly concerned that sport scientists were over-ruling club doctors and the AFL Players Association looked at legislating against that influence.
The story gained traction when Essendon failed to contest a NAB Cup game in Wangaratta - a source of great embarrassment for the club - claiming it had chosen to fly to the country town and not stay there overnight to protect the players' bodies.
Although the team instead took a risk by attempting to fly in dangerous circumstances, the coaches never took public responsibility for the stuff-up, which in the context of its current crisis seems trivial, although at the time the club's move was widely scorned.
Not taking responsibility seems to be contagious at Essendon. As the Ziggy Switkowski report into irregular practices at the club last season looms, you would hope that someone in senior management or the coaching department, or even the board, is prepared to take some blame, because to date no one has. Only Robinson has been punished, although by all reports he has not been told exactly why. Incredibly, he had not been interviewed by Switkowski at the time Bombers president David Evans briefed the AFL over the internal report, despite the fact the club saw his role in the supplements affair as so pivotal it stood him down the day it reported itself to the AFL and the Australian Sport Anti-Doping Agency.
Essendon's lawyers allegedly claim Robinson was medically unfit to be interviewed. The stress caused by the damage to his reputation - right or wrong - has seen Robinson's health suffer. It has been a dreadful time for him, his wife and his four young children.
And yet Robinson gave evidence over three days to the AFL and ASADA under strict medical conditions. Given that each daily interview lasted about two hours, you would have to assume he would have been fit to face Switkowski's team, although there is some doubt whether he was approached by that inquiry. Now Robinson has withdrawn his legal challenge it must be assumed the Switkowski report does not implicate him but simply deals with the poor governance at Essendon that allowed players to face allegations they took banned substances.
When the Bombers revealed they had reported themselves to ASADA and the AFL, Hird said he took full responsibility for the football crisis, which still could prove catastrophic and at the very least underlined the shoddy duty of care afforded his players. More recently Hird said he was confident the club would be exonerated once the full truth was revealed.
And Robinson? The good news is that he is still being paid. The bad news is his reputation has been eroded, potentially irreparably, in terms of the AFL. It is true his big contract had become an issue for the Bombers last year as his performance was heavily scrutinised with every soft-tissue injury that clouded the second half of the season.
By the end of the year it was reported his influence had been diluted and coaches were lamenting the club could hardly justify paying him out more than half a million dollars when it was asking fans and corporate partners for money to relocate the club from Windy Hill.
When the supplements scandal broke, he was stood down, told to stay silent and remains the only staffer made accountable for the mess. This despite revelations of a complete breakdown in the club's chain of command, including the most recent snippet that Essendon paid an invoice for a WADA-banned substance that it did not even receive.
Our view is Robinson will not be the only official to depart the club by the time this saga is over. But that is little compensation for his lost reputation. Right or wrong, Essendon handed him the responsibility of rebuilding the strength of its playing list and stood him down presumably in no small part because of his link to Stephen Dank.
It is worth pointing out that even if the Suns felt his methods were wrong for a club largely made up of teenagers, Geelong still speaks highly of Robinson. Joel Selwood told Channel Nine earlier this year that he was a ''legend of a bloke'' and had done a great job at Geelong. Football chief Neil Balme has vouched strongly for his character and Gary Ablett, who lived with Robinson and his family in year one on the Gold Coast, has also endorsed him.
It is said the Cats' players have shown him some much-needed support since he was removed from his job, which must be small solace.
With the ASADA investigation far from complete, it cannot be revealed whether Robinson deserved any blame for the football operation, which too often last year sounds like it resembled a chemical laboratory. But surely he alone was not the culprit and nor, despite what some Essendon people would have you believe, was Dank.
And yet that is the way it looks right now at one of the most successful sporting organisations in the land, which ran a supposedly elite football department laden with a ''dream team'' of highly paid coaches, officials and two part-time doctors.