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Originally published Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Desperate for receiving help, Hawks turn to Koren Robinson

In need of serious help and experience at their severely depleted wide-receiver position, the Seahawks turned to a familiar face. That of Koren Robinson...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Comeback Koren

A timeline of Koren Robinson's NFL career:

April 21, 2001: Drafted by the Seahawks with the ninth pick of the first round.

2001 season: Started 13 of 16 regular-season games, making 39 catches for 536 yards and a TD.

March 2002: Pulled over in his native North Carolina for speeding on his 22nd birthday. Police report lists blood-alcohol content at 0.16.

Oct. 20, 2002: Set record (along with QB Trent Dilfer) for longest pass completion in franchise history, 83 yards. It still stands.

2002 season: Set career highs with 78 catches for 1,240 yards. His 15.9 yards-per-catch average was 10th-best in the NFL.

Feb. 1, 2003: Arrested outside of a bar in Raleigh, N.C., for failure to disperse.

Week 2, 2003: Suspended for game at Arizona for missing a team meeting.

2003 season: Played in 15 games; 65 receptions for 896 yards.

Oct. 17, 2004: Dropped eight passes in first five games of the season, but caught nine for 150 yards at New England.

Nov. 22, 2004: Suspended four games for violation of NFL substance abuse policy. Played only 10 games that season and caught 31 passes for 495 yards, his worst season as a Seahawk.

May 6, 2005: Arrested and charged with DUI and reckless driving.

June 2, 2005: Released by the Seahawks.

Sept. 6, 2005: Signed by Minnesota. Caught just 22 passes in the 2005 season but was named to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner for the Vikings.

Aug. 26, 2006: Released by Vikings after he was arrested in Minnesota and charged with one felony count of fleeing an officer, two counts of DUI and three other misdemeanors.

Sept. 11, 2006: Signed by Green Bay.

Oct. 5, 2006: Sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating probation-agreement from a drunken-driving conviction in Kirkland in 2005.

Oct. 17, 2006: Suspended by NFL for a full year.

Feb. 20, 2007: Sentenced to 90 days in jail for fleeing police in August 2006.

Oct. 17, 2007: Reinstated by the NFL. Caught 21 passes for 241 yards and averaged 23.8 yards on kickoff returns for Packers.

May 2008: Released by the Packers.

Tuesday: Signed by the Seahawks.

José Miguel Romero and Bill Reader

In need of serious help and experience at their severely depleted wide-receiver position, the Seahawks turned to a familiar face.

That of Koren Robinson, who was last seen in a Seahawks uniform in 2004 before being released the following offseason after one off-field issue too many.

Coach Mike Holmgren said Monday that desperate times called for desperate measures, and indeed the 0-2 Seahawks were desperate for help, with five receivers unable to play due to injury and three of those out for the season. To that end, Seattle didn't stop with Robinson. The team swung a trade with the Denver Broncos that brought them fifth-year veteran Keary Colbert, who was the odd-man out in terms of playing time among the group of receivers there.

The trade for Colbert is pending league approval, which should come today. Seattle gave up an undisclosed draft choice for Colbert. But Robinson's return took center stage.

He never imagined returning to Seattle.

"I did not, just because of the terms and the circumstances that I left Seattle on," Robinson told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "It's always good to get a second chance. I'm grateful for this chance, this opportunity. I think it can be a good story, both for me and the franchise."

The Robinson addition was inconceivable until last week, when Nate Burleson went down with a season-ending torn ACL. The Seahawks, already without Deion Branch and Bobby Engram until Week 4 at the soonest, had also lost Ben Obomanu in the exhibition season and had only Courtney Taylor, Logan Payne and backup quarterback Seneca Wallace as options.

Then Seattle signed Billy McMullen and added Michael Bumpus from the practice squad. Problem solved.

Not quite. Wallace pulled a calf muscle before kickoff last Sunday and Payne went down with what proved to be a season-ending torn knee ligament after taking a hit in the first quarter against San Francisco. That left the Seahawks with Taylor, Bumpus and McMullen.

Robinson, who had been let go by Seahawks president and general manager Tim Ruskell after a DUI arrest in May of 2005, had not even been on Ruskell's radar as the injuries mounted. But Ruskell sent pro personnel director Will Lewis and player development director Maurice Kelly to meet with Robinson, and the report they gave on Robinson's attitude and maturity was a positive one.

Robinson carries plenty of baggage. On top of arrests, including one after he left the Seahawks, he'd been suspended four games by the NFL in 2004 for violating its substance-abuse policy. He'd served jail time, checked himself into a rehabilitation center and was out of the game for a full year thanks to another NFL suspension.

But when Robinson played, he showed he still had the talent and promise the Seahawks saw in him to make him their No. 1 draft choice in 2001. Robinson, who after leaving Seattle signed with Minnesota, made the Pro Bowl in 2005 as a return specialist. Then he was arrested in August 2006 on suspicion of drunken driving, and released by the Vikings.

The Green Bay Packers were next to take a chance with Robinson, and had him for four games in 2006 before the NFL suspended him for a year. When reinstated in October 2007, Robinson caught 21 passes for 241 yards and returned 25 kicks for 596 yards in nine games.

Before all his legal troubles and lost jobs, Robinson looked like a future star as a Seahawk. He had a breakout year in 2002 with career highs of 78 catches for 1,240 yards, starting all 16 regular-season games.

Ruskell maintains that the team's philosophy of acquiring high-character players is intact, despite Robinson's past. He feels he got enough positive input from Lewis, Kelly, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and coach Mike Holmgren to take another shot with Robinson.

"I understand that criticism, but I had to make the best decision for the football team," Ruskell said. "He's not being brought in here to be the savior."

Robinson, 28, is married with two boys, and a daughter on the way, and credits them and newfound spirituality with helping him become a better person. He says he has been sober since that 2006 arrest. He said he still remembers the Seahawks' offensive terminology. And he's ready to make amends.

"That's something that's at the top of my list, making amends for some of the things I might have done, some of my actions," Robinson said. "Saying that, I want to apologize to my fans up here in Seattle, and apologize to coach Holmgren and my teammates. I was selfish."

The Seahawks placed Payne on injured reserve, clearing a spot on the 53-man roster for Robinson. They'll need to open up another spot for Colbert by today.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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