Visit to McCarthy's Hometown...........Kenny Mayne

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Robinson Reinstated

One year to the day that Green Bay Packers wide receiver Koren Robinson was suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse program, commissioner Roger Goodell informed him that he was back in the league.

Goodell met with Robinson Sunday in a face-to-face meeting - in all places University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix - to discuss the receiver's possible reinstatement. On Wednesday, Robinson received a letter from Goodell informing him that his one-year suspension was over and he was free to resume his career.

In order to be reinstated, Robinson had to comply with a strict program that included testing for alcohol use up to 10 times per month. Any violation of the testing would have put Robinson's reinstatement in serious jeopardy, but he apparently kept clean for the year he was out of football.

The impromptu meeting came when Goodell came to Phoenix, where Robinson has spent the past two months training, and called him on his cell phone. Goodell told Robinson he was at the Arizona Cardinals-Carolina Panthers game and wanted to meet with him.

"I told him I'm at the game, too," Robinson said.

Stadium officials arranged for Goodell and Robinson to meet in a room in the bowels of the stadium where they met to discuss Robinson's reinstatement. Goodell was stern and told him that this was his last chance. One more violation of the substance abuse program and Robinson will be suspended for life.

Robinson was suspended for a year after multiple arrests for alcohol-related crimes, the most recent stemming from a high-speed chase on his way back to Minnesota Vikings training camp in Mankato, Minn., in 2006. Robinson was released by the Vikings a short time later, and signed by general manager Ted Thompson, who had a previous relationship with Robinson in Seattle.
Robinson played in four games for the Packers and was just getting acclimated when the suspension came down.

Since then he has not been allowed to have contact with the Packers. He has served two different jail terms over the past year as a result of the alcohol-related charges.
Robinson filed for reinstatement to the league in August and had been waiting to hear from the commissioner.

"I felt like I did everything I needed to do in order to cope with or get through this situation I put myself in that led me on this crazy path," Robinson said. "I'm able to cope with things differently. I know how to avoid those situations that aren't positive. If they're not positive, I'm not going to be around that and if you're not positive I don't need you to be around me."

Robinson's agent, Alvin Keels, said Robinson was prohibited from drinking alcohol and was subject to as many as 10 drug tests a month. He said if Robinson had taken a drink of alcohol the NFL would have known about it.

"He wasn't supposed to drink, that goes without saying," Keels said. "The same testing procedures he was under when he was in the league remained. In order to be reinstated he had to comply and follow the program. There is little room for error. Koren's done an outstanding job of doing what they asked him to do."

Robinson attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, met with therapists and received support from family and friends. He said he took his recovery seriously and plans to continue receiving treatment when the re-joins the Packers.

During the months he wasn't serving time or working out in Phoenix with quarterback Brett Favre's personal trainer, Ken Croner, Robinson was in Green Bay, working on setting up a support system for his return. He said he doesn't fear returning to football and the culture of professional athletics.

"I'm definitely trying to start fresh," Robinson said. "I'm not trying to go back, but I'm not going to forget either."

Robinson is scheduled to arrive in Green Bay this week to begin getting acclimated with the Packers' offense. Because it's the bye week, he won't be able to take part in a practice until the team returns on Monday.

Read More from Tom Silverstein's article on JSOnline here:

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