And then there were none.
The last of the cadre of miscreants who seemed to define the underachieving Seattle Seahawks in 2004 was shown the door when WR Koren Robinson was officially released by the team. The Seahawks announced the release of both Robinson and CB Bobby Taylor on Thursday afternoon.
Taylor’s release had nothing to do with attitude or disciplinary issues – during the year he was with Seattle after signing a 4-year, $11.3 million deal with a $3 million signing bonus and incentives before the 2004 season, Taylor was a model citizen. He formed a friendship with safety Ken Hamlin that had the two players working out together and his starting role before training camp drove CB Ken Lucas to a Pro Bowl level all season. Lucas eventually supplanted Taylor in the depth chart based on performance, but Taylor’s release was predicated more on injury concerns – he missed the last seven games of the season with a knee injury and had only 13 tackles all year. The off-season signings of Andre Dyson and Kelly Herndon made Taylor ’s cut all but a formality.
Robinson’s saga with the Seahawks is far more involved. As first reported by Mike Sando and Sean Robinson of the Tacoma News Tribune on June 1 st, Robinson was stopped by Medina police on May 6th, and charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving. A recent report by Jose Miguel Romero of the Seattle Times details that Robinson was stopped for excessive speeding and unsafe lane travel. The officer who pulled him over, according to a statement from Medina police, smelled intoxicants on Robinson's breath and asked Robinson to take a field sobriety test.
Robinson complied and was arrested after he failed the test. After being taken to the Kirkland police station, he was notified of the charges and released to a friend. He is scheduled to appear in Kirkland court on July 18th.
This was the last straw for the Seahawks.
After years of battling various substance abuse issues, Robinson spent part of this offseason at an undisclosed rehab facility, and recently made several statements to the media in which he implied that he was on the mend and turning over a new leaf – most notably a statement made on April 30, less than a week before the DUI arrest, when he claimed that he was not drinking anymore. “I’m not stupid, man,” he said then. “I’m not going to be one of those people they talk about, ‘Oh, he had the potential to be a great player but he let this, that and the third, so many distractions’ – that’s not going to be me.”
Last season, Robinson spent six of the team’s last seven games on the sidelines – suspended twice for one game each by the team for missing practices and meetings, and serving a four-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. After suspending Robinson before the regular season finale against the Falcons for missing a New Year’s Day walkthrough practice, head coach Mike Holmgren told Robinson that he could play in the wild-card playoff game against the St. Louis Rams if he sought professional help in the offseason. Robinson caught 4 passes for 40 yards and fumbled twice in the game that ended Seattle’s season when the Seahawks lost, 27-20.
Now, the co-dependent relationship between Holmgren and his not-so-apt pupil is over.
The Seahawks, following the new “character first” credo of new president and general manager Tim Ruskell, had already released tackle Chris Terry and linebacker Anthony Simmons, two quality players at positions of need whose attitudes didn’t meet the new standard. Robinson was the most glaring square peg, and it was thought by an increasingly impatient fanbase that if Robinson didn’t get his walking papers, all the talk of a new regime was nothing but lip service.
Ruskell has now proven that he’s certainly a man of his word – not that Robinson made it difficult for him to pull the trigger.
The team acquired wide receivers Jerome Pathon and Joe Jurevicius via free-agency, most likely in anticipation of Robinson's inevitable release. Jurevicius is a tough, reliable possession receiver, while Pathon is known as a pure speed burner. Pathon may be the most specific Robinson replacement.
In his four-year career with the Seahawks, Robinson caught 213 passes in 57 games for 3167 yards and 12 touchdowns. So much more was expected when he was picked ninth overall in the 2001 draft.
However, in leaving, Robinson may be opening a door to the future.
According to “The Hawkstorian”, Seahawks.NET’s salary cap expert, Taylor’s release will net the team $1.62 million in cap room, while Robinson’s cut puts $1.35 million back in the team coffers. With approximately $1.5 million committed to the “rookie pool” (the amount it will take to sign the team’s draft picks), the Seahawks will have about $1.3 million to spare which they can use to sign another player.
The player they obviously want is former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware. After his release from the Ravens on May 11 after he refused a deep salary cut, Boulware became a highly coveted free agent, despite the fact that he missed all of the 2004 season with knee and foot injuries.
Boulware began his tour in Cleveland on Thursday morning, where he visited with Browns GM Phil Savage. Savage was the Ravens’ director of college scouting when Boulware was drafted by Baltimore. Boulware underwent a physical and met with the coaching staff. However, Patrick McManamon of the Akron Beacon Journal has reported that the Browns did not offer Boulware a contract.
``We don't want to be the team, so to speak, to kind of set the bar right now because we don't know where the bar is going to be,'' Savage said. ``I think he checks out OK physically. The question is that the two most recent injuries, the left knee and the right big toe, are untested. It's a little bit of a venture into the unknown because this is a situation where he has not played in a year and you're not going to get an opportunity to see him work on the field prior to signing him.
``There's a risk involved there.''
Boulware departed Cleveland Thursday afternoon and made his way to Seattle, where he is expected to meet with Seahawks officials and coaches on Friday. Mike Sando, on his Tacoma News Tribune blog, said that he expected that Boulware would be in Seattle as early as Thursday night.
The redefinition of the Seahawks continues. Stay tuned to Seahawks.NET for details as they happen!