Koren Robinson Resurrecting Career in Minnesota

By Krupka  |   Wednesday, December 07, 2005  |  Comments( 0 )

Minnesota Vikings
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When Koren Robinson was drafted 9th overall in the 2001 draft by the Seattle Seahawks he was dubbed the next Randy Moss. He possessed speed, was a great route runner, had good height, and was a playmaker. The former N.C. State star wide out never reached the lofty expectations given to him as a Seahawk.

In his time with the Seahawks, Robinson was a good wide receiver, but drew the ire of head coach Mike Holmgren when he frequently dropped passes. He caught 78 passes for 1240 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2002, all career highs in just his second year in the league.

Things seemed to be going good for the budding star. Then things went bad, besides dropping passes in Seattle he was suffering from alcohol abuse. In July he pleaded guilty to drunken driving. The Seahawks released him.

He accepted the responsibility for his alcoholism. After checking himself into an alcohol treatment center in South Carolina he said, "I was afraid, I was scared. The fear of the uncertainty, not knowing if I was ever going to get the opportunity to play ball again. Knowing that I had to do some things to get myself right, personally, as far as being a better father, a better son, a better brother. I felt like I had to get that right first and foremost before any of the football things. I felt like I was embarrassing my family. My parents didn't raise me like that, for the things I was doing. They didn't raise me like that. It was time for a change."

While sitting in the treatment center in South Carolina, he received a phone call from Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice. Tice and Robinson chatted a few times, and Tice told him that he had a second chance waiting for him in Minnesota once he checked out of rehab.

After signing with the Vikings on September 6th he was 6th on the depth chart at wide receiver. For the first two games of the season he was inactive. In fact, the Minnesota Vikings even released him for a day just days after signing him so that his base salary of $540,000 wouldn't be guaranteed. The plan was to quickly re-sign him, and they did. However, some teams made him offers for more money and for a bigger role. The rival Green Bay Packers who had just lost Javon Walker for the season were one of the teams that extended an offer to him.

While mulling over the offers Robinson decided that his loyalty was with the Vikings, the team that believed in him when no one else did. He said, "My family always has believed in loyalty, and I just felt like I had to be loyal to the team that stuck their neck out on the line for me first."

He accepted the fact that he would have to work his way up the depth chart and accept his role whatever it may be. He became the kickoff return man for the Vikings and is second in the NFC in kickoff return average at 25.9. In week 10 against the New York Giants, he made his presence felt returning a kick 86 yards for a touchdown. He also caught a 44 yard pass in the game.

Slowly but surely he has moved up the depth chart. The following week against the Packers on Monday Night Football he made an impact again. On the Vikings final drive with the score tied 17-17, he got open and quarterback Brad Johnson found him for a 35 yard gain inside the Packers 10 yard line setting up the game winning field goal. This past Sunday against the Lions, Robinson started and made an impact right away. On the Vikings first offensive play of the game, he blew by cornerback R.W. McQuarters and Johnson found him for an 80 yard touchdown. He caught 4 passes for 138 yards and the touchdown becoming the first Viking wide receiver to surpass the 100 yard receiving mark in a game this season.

He has shown all season for the Vikings that he is a playmaker. Every time he has the ball in his hands he is dangerous. He has turned his life around and found a home. His teammates recently voted him the winner of the Ed Block Courage Award. The award is given to one player on each team. During the week he attends two alcoholics' anonymous meetings, meets with a psychologist, and has counseling.

He was welcomed by teammates with open arms, and is having the most fun he's had in a long time. Talking about his teammates he said, "They've just accepted me. It's special."

He has to be the feel good story of the year, as are the Vikings now with Robinson resurrecting his career and turning his life around and the Vikings resurrecting their season with a chance to make the playoffs.

It's time the Minnesota Vikings make the long term commitment to Robinson and not risk losing his explosive playmaking ability. The man should be a model to all who have problems to overcome. After all he has been gracious of the second opportunity given to him, done all the right things, accepted his role, continued working hard, remained loyal, and has made the most of his chance. He is quickly becoming a fan favorite and reminding fans of how Chris Carter, a once troubled wide receiver received a second chance with the Vikings, and also made the most of it.
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