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What impressed coach Mike Tice the most about Koren Robinson is the fact that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a man. In an era of spoiled athletes that screw up again and again with no remorse, Robinson has shown maturity and taken responsibility for himself despite problems with alcohol.
That is why Tice felt Robinson deserved a second chance.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The biggest thing that brought me to continue communicating with him over the last two or three weeks is that I actually called him when he was in rehab,Ã¢â‚¬? Tice said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He voluntarily went into rehab knowing that he had messed up.Ã¢â‚¬?
Robinson missed training camp and was released by Seattle while attending a 28-day program for alcohol abuse. Robinson will join an after-care program in Minnesota as well Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not because its required in his contract, but because he wants to do it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a grown man,Ã¢â‚¬? Robinson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have to be responsible for myself. I have to be accountable for myself. I want to be a role model Ã¢â‚¬â€œ do everything right for my son, my kids. I know that is something that I have to do to continue on my path that I am going on right now.Ã¢â‚¬?
Robinson arguably carries the most baggage of any Vikings player at this point now that the team has rid itself of Randy Moss in the offseason, Onterrio Smith was suspended, and Kelly Campbell was released to make room for Robinson. As a result, Robinson will likely be the most scrutinized player off the field.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not worrying about any of that,Ã¢â‚¬? Robinson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It comes with the territory. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been scrutinized, criticized throughout playing football. What people say and think about me is really none of my business. I just feel like if I do everything for God, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel like I will do anything wrong.Ã¢â‚¬?
Doing a few things for Minnesota certainly wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hurt, either.
Robinson is a long shot for week two against Cincinnati, but should be ready to go for week three against New Orleans. He will then step in as the teams primary kick returner and could eventually return punts as well. Robinson hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t returned kickoffs since he came out of college, but said his strength as a receiver is his open field running ability, which should translate well to the return positions.
As for the depth chart at wide receiver, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not clear where Robinson will end up as of yet. But he hopes to contribute in any way possible.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Right now IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m willing to do whatever they want me to do, whether its being a fourth receiver, kickoff returns or punt returns, or playing on the line,Ã¢â‚¬? Robinson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just want to make plays when the ball comes my way. Just be productive, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all.Ã¢â‚¬?
Robinson certainly wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come in demanding the ball seeing as this could be viewed as his third chance to make things right in the league after the Seahawks gave him a couple of opportunities. That should help out quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
Culpepper said he is excited to have a talent like Robinson among his receivers. But adding another playmaker could make it tough to keep his receivers happy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The main thing isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t to keep anyone satisfied,Ã¢â‚¬? Culpepper said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“My job is to move the chains and put points on the board. The attitude of the team is that guys arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t worried about how many catches they had this drive or this game. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all about winning. If weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re doing what we need to do, everybody will be satisfied and happy because weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re winning football games.Ã¢â‚¬?
With the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top receiver, Nate Burleson, echoing similar sentiments throughout training camp, that attitude should permeate through the receiving core.
But even if it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a safe bet Robinson wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be the one rocking the boat as this could be his last chance to stick in the league.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I took this whole opportunity, the NFL, a lot of things for granted in my life since coming into the NFL,Ã¢â‚¬? Robinson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I felt like there are a lot of things thrown your way. I left college early, I was immature. You go through certain things, but you learn from them and it builds character. I feel like everything happens for a reason, and I feel like God was putting me through those things to get me to the point right here. I feel like IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a better person. With me becoming a better person, out there on the field is going to do nothing but benefit.Ã¢â‚¬?