Robinson comes full circle

Touchdown catch validates receiver's comeback on the right track

Is Koren Robinson really back as a player and person? That question is thrown my way a lot, and all I can say is: Yes, it sure looks like he is back mentally and physically. The wide receiver has jumped through a lot of hoops over the past year to restructure his personal life and return to playing football, and so far, so good.

From the time that he returned to the Packers in October until now, Robinson has improved as a football player. He has regained his Pro Bowl form as a kickoff return specialist and has been an asset to Green Bay's receiving corp, making 21 catches for 241 yards in the last eight games. Off the field, he has been a model citizen as far as the public can see in Green Bay. And, believe me, if there were problems with Robinson, or any other Packer, in Green Bay, it wouldn't go unnoticed.

It was cool to see Robinson clear one of the last hurdles of his comeback last Sunday by snaring a five-yard bullet pass from Brett Favre for the receiver's first touchdown as a Packer. That touchdown meant a lot more than six points for the Packers. It highlighted a turnaround for a player whose career was on the brink of a disastrous ending when he was arrested on a number of charges, including drunken driving, in August of 2006 in Mankato, Minn. At that time, it wasn't Robinson's first brush with the law, and didn't seem like it would be his last, either. The Minnesota Vikings quickly released Robinson, a first-round pick of Seattle in 2001, and Green Bay stepped up and claimed him off waivers.

Many felt general manager Ted Thompson's move to resurrect Robinson's career would be futile, but that has hardly been the case. About a year-and-a-half later, some jail time, and numerous hours of counseling and prayer, Robinson, 27, seems headed in the right direction.

"Just a great guy with very good character who has had some problems," said Favre of Robinson. "My support for him has only increased with each day that I spend with him."

NFL Comeback Player of the Year? Robinson is a great candidate and deserving of the award. His touchdown catch may have punctuated an honor that could come his way. The celebration that took place among teammates, coaches and fans was a blatant indication of everyone's concern and support for the receiver.

"It was clearly evident of the path that Koren has taken in his personal life and how happy everybody was to see him have the success that he has been building each week," McCarthy said. "I am very happy for him, personally, and very excited about it. He's a gifted football player, and I'm glad he's part of our program."

Robinson's current contract will expire at the end of the 2008 season, according to NFL Player's Association data. The Packers should do all they can to extend the receiver's stay in Green Bay. Like McCarthy says, Robinson has a lot to offer the team and he has shown that Green Bay is a place for him to thrive on and off the field.

Remember that nasty hit over the middle of the field that Robinson took from Detroit Lions safety Gerald Alexander? Robinson popped right up after Alexander jarred the ball and, perhaps, a filling or two loose.

"It ain't easy. It definitely ain't easy," Robinson said. "Just to let you know, if you hit me hard, I'm gonna bounce up. You gotta come harder than that."

That kind of resiliency since August of 2006 has helped Robinson succeed in more than just football.

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


Koren Robinson his hit by Detroit's Gerald Alexander
AP photo


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