MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings receiver Koren Robinson
knows he'll always be under scrutiny while living life as a
recovering alcoholic. These last few days, however, have been a
little over the top.
Reports surfaced late Thursday night that Robinson had
voluntarily checked himself into a rehab facility to seek further
treatment. The term "rehab facility" carries with it a certain
stigma that led some to believe he could have suffered a relapse.
Nothing could be further from the truth, Robinson said Friday
"People hear rehab and they say, 'Oh no, he has problems,"'
Robinson told The Associated Press in a phone interview from South
Carolina. "I'm not in rehab. I'm still doing good. I'm still not
drinking. I'm still working out. I'm still Koren, the cheerful,
happy guy you all saw last year."
Robinson said he did not check himself into a rehab facility and
did not have a relapse. Rather, he said, he is merely attending
some relapse prevention classes in preparation for the start of the
grueling NFL season, which affords the Pro Bowl kick returner
little time to work on maintaining his recovery.
It's standard operating procedure for Robinson, who is doing
everything he can to make sure that the alcohol problems that
plagued him in the past do not return.
Robinson spent 28 days in an alcohol treatment facility last
year after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks for several reasons,
many of which Robinson attributed to alcohol abuse. He was in the
facility during training camps last season and signed with the
Vikings shortly after checking out.
The 26-year-old enjoyed a storybook season with the Vikings last
year, emerging as the team's most dangerous receiver and making his
first trip to Honolulu as a special teamer. He was a pillar in the
locker room, being voted by his teammates to receive the team's Ed
Block Courage award as well as receiving the Korey Stringer Good
Guy Award for his cooperation with the local media.
The Vikings rewarded him with a new three-year contract in March
that includes $5.5 million in guaranteed money.
"I just want to make sure I'm good for the season before I put
myself back in that lifestyle," Robinson said. "In the NFL, when
you lose, you feel real down and when you win, there's a lot of
celebrating. I'm just making sure I'm bulletproof and being
Robinson said the relapse prevention classes help him "tune
up" his recovery efforts and "reiterate stuff so that it's fresh
in my mind. I just use that so I won't put myself in predicaments
that would be bad situations."
During the season, "you don't really have that
to-yourself-time," Robinson said. "You have a lot going on where
you can't put that stuff in your personal life on the front burner.
You can't deal with it."
That's why he's seeking that little extra help now.
The young receiver reflected on his struggles often during last
year's renaissance, acknowledging that they will always be with
"It just made me a totally different person," Robinson said.
"I like how everything turned out. I'm happy. My family's good. I
want that. I need that. I have to do what I can do to keep that,
whether it's relapse prevention classes, talking to family, talking
to friends. Whatever."
But life is good for him now. He's due to be married July 22 and
will arrive at Vikings' training camp in Mankato at the end of the
month as the team's No. 1 receiver.
Both Robinson and his agent, Alvin Keels, expressed frustration
that his approach was made public. They see it as just another step
toward maintaining his sobriety.
"Certain words were misconstrued," Robinson said. "I just
didn't want anybody to see those reports and get it twisted that I
screwed up. ... Tell everyone I'm still good. Everything is all
right. I'm looking forward to the season, having a great year and
bringing a Super Bowl to Minnesota."