By Todd Fredrickson Herald Writer
SEATTLE — When he crossed the goal line with his team’s only touchdown in an otherwise dreary loss, a career’s worth of thoughts and emotions came flooding back to Koren Robinson.
“Once I got into the end zone a lot of stuff just went through my head,” Robinson said. “I kind of got touched.
“I’m at a loss for words, really,” he said. “It felt good, man. It felt real, real good.
The last time Robinson scored a touchdown for Seattle was in 2004. Since then he has been cut by three teams, arrested twice for drunk driving, and suspended several times for conduct detrimental to teams and the league.
The fact that he stands today as Seattle’s leading wide receiver in receiving yards tells you two things:
The Seahawks’ passing game is in shambles, and Robinson is turning his life around.
Talk about bittersweet.
Robinson’s 90-yard touchdown reception on Seattle’s first offensive play Sunday was a testament to the talent he brought into the league and, apparently, still has.
He slipped past a cornerback, caught quarterback Seneca Wallace’s pass in stride at the Seattle 35-yard line, eluded a safety at midfield, and outran the rest of the defense to the goal line.
But for the remaining 58 minutes, the Seattle offense was a picture of frustration as the Philadelphia Eagles rolled to a 26-7 victory at Qwest Field in a game that didn’t feel nearly that close.
“It’s a tough loss,” Robinson said. “Things aren’t going so well for us right now. That’s a little different, so it’s tough.”
It is different, at least compared to what Robinson knows of life as a Seahawk. In his first tour with the team, Seattle was an offensive force, and he was a key part of it. In 2002 he led the team with 78 receptions and 1,240 receiving yards.
The team was on an upswing that would carry through to the Super Bowl three years later, and Robinson was a promising second-year player, a 2001 first-round draft choice who appeared to have the world at his feet.
Then he gave a big slice of his life to alcohol, and with it, his career.
His production dropped about 25 percent in 2003, then plummeted in 2004. By the end of that season he was out of the starting lineup and was better known for dropping balls than catching them.
The Seahawks released him after the 2004 season, after which he spent one year with Minnesota and two with Green Bay, none of which were particularly productive.
He said that with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, he last touched alcohol in August of 2006. When the Seahawks came calling this season after losing five wide receivers to injury two weeks into the regular season, he was ready and excited for the opportunity.
He believed he would get another chance in the NFL, but he certainly didn’t expect it to be in Seattle after his ignominious departure the first time.
“It is (kind of strange),” he said of being back with the Seahawks. “But it is what it is. For me, right now, I’m making the best of the opportunity, and the past is the past. I’m going to leave that in the past.
“Everything happens for a reason, and God put me back here for a reason,” Robinson said.
The first thing he faced upon his return was a long talk with Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who often expressed both fondness and frustration for his troubled receiver during his first tenure here.
“We sat and talked. We have a good relationship, a good rapport,” Robinson said. “There were some jokes in there. We just were real for one another.”
The rash of injuries to receivers has subsided for Seattle, and Robinson and Bobby Engram have each started the past four games.
But quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has missed those four games with a back injury, and the Seahawks’ passing game is still in a world of hurt, averaging only 141.3 yards per game.
Maybe Robinson’s big-play ability can provide a glimmer of hope.
The 90-yard reception is the longest play from scrimmage in Seahawks history and, of course, the longest pass play as well. The previous team record for longest reception was also set by Robinson on an 83-yard pass play from Trent Dilfer in 2002.
Robinson finished Sunday’s game with four catches for 105 yards, the ninth 100-yard game of his career. He is third on the team with 12 receptions and second with 182 receiving yards, tops among wide receivers.
“I’ve always known that I could still make plays,” Robinson said in a tone that was not the least bit arrogant. “I know I can still play and play at a high level.”
Feeling blessed to have a second chance here, he would like to be a blessing to his team.
“I’m working hard and trying to be a spark on the offensive side of the ball,” he said. “I’m trying to make something happen.”
Heaven knows the Seahawks could use it.