Ruskell, Robinson explain unlikely reunion
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Seahawks president Tim Ruskell and newly signed receiver Koren Robinson just finished a conference call with reporters. A few highlights:
- Ruskell was initially against signing Robinson for all the obvious reasons (off-field issues, history of alcohol-related incidents, efforts by the organization to flush out the "knucklehead" element, as Ruskell put it).
- Mike Holmgren and other coaches brought up Robinson's name after the Seahawks lost Nate Burleson to a season-ending injury in the opener.
- Ruskell remained skeptical but agreed to take a harder look at Robinson as the injury situation at receiver lingered.
- Robinson had impressed quarterback Matt Hasselbeck at a Christian retreat during the offseason, and word of their meeting had filtered back to Ruskell.
- As the injury situation worsened, Ruskell dispatched pro personnel director Will Lewis and director of player development Maurice Kelly to check references on Robinson in Green Bay, North Carolina (Robinson's home state) and elsewhere.
- As the research indicated Robinson had turned around his life, the Seahawks met with Robinson last week and ran him through a workout.
- The team brought in Robinson for a followup workout today, and Robinson showed improvement and seemed to be relearning the offense well.
- Robinson met with Ruskell to discuss parameters for his return to the team, including unspecified "stipulations" for continued employment.
Robinson said he has been sober since August 2006. He said he has been married for two years. He has two boys, ages 6 and 2, and a daughter on the way. He said he doesn't go out to clubs any more and he doesn't "run with an entourage or a group of people or negative people" any longer. He credited a recommitment to his faith, including the one-week getaway in which he encountered Hasselbeck, as one key to his sobriety.
Ruskell acknowledged he is taking a risk. He recommitted to the principles that precipitated Robinson's departure from the team in 2005. He said the current "little crisis" at receiver led him to take a harder look at Robinson than he ever would have otherwise.
Ruskell: "Initially, when our coaches brought it up, I was against it just because everybody knows what our commitment is philosophically in terms of character. ... Once we started doing our research ... we started hearing favorable things that kind of verified what Matt had been saying about this being a different Koren. The more people we talked to ... the way he had changed his life in terms of his marriage and his kids and what was important to him as opposed to a different set of priorities when he was here earlier, that started the thing moving in a different direction."