Robinson, Vikings agree to three-year extension
By Len Pasquarelli
Pro Bowl return man Koren Robinson, who resurrected his career in 2005 after battling alcoholism, has reached an agreement to remain with the Minnesota Vikings, the team that gave him a second chance.
Robinson agreed to a three-year contract extension late Friday night, shortly before he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency. The Vikings had written a right of first refusal into the one-year deal that Robinson signed in 2005, giving them the right to match any offer from another team, but it never came to that, as the five-year veteran kept his promise to return if Minnesota made him a fair offer.
Financial details of the three-year contract were not yet available. Had he gone onto the open market, Robinson would have been sought by many teams as a wide receiver, his primary position. Negotiations between the Vikings and Robinson had been ongoing for much of the past month.
The first-round choice of the Seattle Seahawks in 2001, and the ninth prospect selected overall that year, Robinson nearly squandered away his career because of his battles with alcohol. He was released by the Seahawks after the 2004 season and conceded to ESPN.com last month at the Pro Bowl that he was "just about at rock bottom" when he entered a 30-day treatment center in Charleston, S.C.
Robinson, 25, successfully completed his treatment, signed with the Vikings and responded to his new lease on an NFL life by returning 47 kickoffs for a 26.0-yard average and one touchdown. He also started five games at wide receiver and had 22 catches for 347 yards and one touchdown.
Before last season, Robinson had never returned a kickoff in an NFL game.
It is likely that Robinson will get more playing time at wide receiver in 2006 under Vikings' first-year head coach Brad Childress. Robinson said last month that he definitely wanted to play wide receiver again on a full-time basis, if possible.
A former North Carolina State standout, Robinson was an immediate starter for the Seahawks and seemed on his way to a standout career at wide receiver until his off-field problems surfaced. In 2002-2003, he averaged 71.2 catches and 1,008 yards, and he scored nine touchdowns. Seattle coach Mike Holmgren demonstrated care and patience with Robinson during early DUI incidents, but his recidivism eventually forced the Seahawks to give up on him.
In 71 games, Robinson has 235 receptions for 3,514 yards and 13 touchdowns.
so much for him being the compliment for steve smith