There now is a somewhat definitive answer to the whereabouts of Oakland Raiders center Barret Robbins after the All-Pro went AWOL the night before the Raiders' 48-21 Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in San Diego.
Robbins spent 30 days in a treatment facility for a mental disorder and alcohol abuse. Robbins' agent, Drew Pittman, issued a statement Wednesday which was the first official disclosure of Robbins' treatment.
"I love the game of football and while it is going to be hard to face my teammates and the public, it is something I have to do," Robbins said in a statement issued by Pittman. "I will continue to receive ongoing treatment and will remain on medication to treat my bi-polar disorder. I understand my sincerity will be judged by my actions, not my words."
Robbins missed two meetings and a walkthrough the day before the game, and Raiders coach Bill Callahan said Robbins was incoherent and didn't know where he was when he showed up late that night. Callahan dismissed Robbins and inserted Adam Treu as the starter.
The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Robbins, who has a history of depression, was treated at an undisclosed facility. A friend who told the San Francisco Chronicle he'd been drinking with Robbins the night before the game said Robbins was despondent and talked about suicide.
Robbins, 29, was harshly criticized by teammates at first, but the revelations about his medical problems, as well as his apology, has softened that stance.
Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen said the team hasn't ruled out the possibility of Robbins playing in the 2003 season despite speculation that his career in Oakland is over.
"As an organization, we care about our team and every individual with the team, and sometimes that involves family issues," Allen said. "We'll see how this transpires over the next few months. There's been no determination on the actual football plane. We're dealing with some other issues that are more pressing than our opening game in Barret's case."
Robbins made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season but did not play. Robbins' Pro Bowl season came one year after missing the final 14 games of 2001 with an injured right knee, he was a pivotal part of an offensive line that helped the Raiders produce the league's top offense.
Robbins said he will make a public statement when he is ready.
"I hope everyone can appreciate that first and foremost I have to focus on my health and on restoring relationships," he said. "In addition, to comment on the statements and feelings of my teammates regarding my situation is not productive. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
"You never think something like this can happen to you, but it did. I intend to do what I can to help others who suffer from this disease and to raise public awareness of mental illness. It is not something I am proud of but it is not something I am ashamed of either. No longer can this disease be ignored. I hope some good can come from what I went through and what I continue to deal with."