Packers agree to deal with troubled receiver Robinson

Updated: September 12, 2006, 12:50 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Koren Robinson wasted his second chance with the Minnesota Vikings. The Green Bay Packers are giving him a third, however.

Koren Robinson
Robinson

The Packers on Monday agreed to terms with the wide receiver, who was released by the Vikings during training camp after he was arrested following a high-speed chase and charged with drunken driving.

The receiver, who made his first trip to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner last season and signed a three-year, $12.7 million contract extension in March, was one of the Vikings' few bright spots last year.

Green Bay was shut out by the Chicago Bears for the first time since 1991 in their season opener on Sunday, but general manager Ted Thompson said the team wasn't making a desperation move by giving Robinson a two-year deal with the hope he will spark the offense.

"No," Thompson said Monday. "We've been thinking about this for some time."

Thompson, a front-office executive in Seattle when the Seahawks drafted Robinson in 2001, said Robinson is a "good kid" who has gotten into trouble.

"I'm not making excuses," Thompson said. "He's made some mistakes. But this is a good kid. He is a good character guy, for all intents and purposes."

Robinson is a talented receiver and kick returner, two areas of need for the Packers. But he has a history of alcohol-related problems, the most recent occurring last month in Minnesota.

Robinson would not address his legal situation, but said he was looking forward to a new start with a new team.

"I'm not a bad guy at all," Robinson said. "I feel like I'm a good person. I think that everybody that knows me and has contact with me, interviewed me, played with me, coached with me, anything, they'll tell you I have a good heart.

"I feel like I have an infectious attitude, personality and so I wouldn't say I'm a bad person at all. I know I'm not. I'm far from that."

Robinson said he already is seeking treatment for alcohol abuse, but didn't want to discus details.

Robinson was arrested Aug. 15 after his blue BMW sedan was caught on radar going more than 100 mph in a 55 mph zone as he tried to get from Minneapolis-St. Paul to the team's training camp headquarters in Mankato, Minn., in time to make curfew.

Police said Robinson refused to stop and led them on a high-speed chase. The criminal complaint said a field test measured Robinson's blood-alcohol content at 0.11 percent.

Robinson also pleaded guilty to DUI while with the Seattle Seahawks in 2005 and was suspended for four games in 2004 for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Thompson said Robinson has a wife and a child, and is "working very hard at" avoiding trouble.

Thompson was the Seahawks' vice president of football operations when the team took Robinson with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2001 draft.

"We go back, we have a relationship," Robinson said. "And I know he's going to look out for me, take care of me."

Thompson said Robinson is a hardworking player who will be a positive influence in the Green Bay locker room.

"He is an all-football guy," Thompson said. "He loves to practice, he loves to play the game. He's looking very much forward to playing in Green Bay."

Robinson's agent, Alvin Keels, wouldn't disclose financial terms of the deal.

"I think it's a very exciting moment any time a player gets back on his feet," Keels said.

Thompson and Robinson both spoke on Monday as though Robinson would be able to play right away for the Packers, but he could face a suspension from the NFL.

"He's not suspended at this time," Keels said.

The Vikings released Robinson Aug. 26. He could ask the NFL Players Association to file a grievance against the Vikings, given that he was cut despite not having been convicted of a crime.

"I'm not going to say we are, I'm not going to say we aren't," Keels said. "It's an option."

Robinson played his first four years with the Seahawks before signing as a free agent with Minnesota before the 2005 season. The Packers also showed interest in Robinson last offseason.

The sixth-year veteran made the Pro Bowl for the Vikings last season after leading the NFC and ranking fifth in the league in kickoff returns (26.0 avg., 47 returns, 1,221 yards). He returned a kickoff for a touchdown in Minnesota's Nov. 13 victory over the New York Giants.

In 71 NFL games, including 57 starts, Robinson has 235 receptions for 3,514 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The Packers have an experienced receiver in Donald Driver, but are starting rookie Greg Jennings as their No. 2 receiver.

The Packers also are looking for a big-play kick returner.

"I hope everybody accepts me," Robinson said. "I think they will."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.