Nate Robinson is focusing his football efforts on playing wide receiver, and he enlisted help from a trainer who has worked with some of the league's high-profile pass-catchers.
Dwayne Frampton flew into Seattle last week for three days of on-field workouts with Robinson at Rainier Beach High School, the former NBA player's alma mater. Frampton works with several NFL wide receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr. and DeSean Jackson. Robinson learned about him via Instagram, and the pair has plans to train together before teams begin training camp later in July.
Robinson, 32, tried out with the Seattle Seahawks earlier this offseason. According to Frampton, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll advised Robinson to zero in on playing wide receiver.
"Nate originally went out to work out for Pete Carroll as a defensive back, but he saw how well Nate was catching the ball," Frampton said. "So Pete said he could be used offensively.
"People have to understand Nate’s already played the game of football. So he’s not blind, he’s just a rookie. We worked on ball drills, getting his feet, polishing his route-running, keeping his shoulder-pad level down. Pretty much just getting him back in the groove of how football operates."
Frampton added that Robinson's best shot could be in the slot.
"He has a lot of strengths," Frampton said of the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Robinson. "He’s very explosive. His hands are great. He’s very strong -- strong for his height and his weight."
Carroll called Robinson's attempt at an NFL career "all but impossible." He had an 11-season NBA career and spent last year playing basketball in Israel.
Robinson went to the University of Washington on a football scholarship before deciding to focus on basketball.
Asked what the biggest challenge is that Robinson faces, Frampton said, "Politics, honestly. And people taking it for a joke, as a publicity stunt. But in actuality, he’s really trying to make it back into football. And he has the willpower and athleticism to do so.
"If he were to get a fair opportunity and not just be known as Nate Robinson the slam-dunk champion, but be known as Nate Robinson, the athlete who’s really trying to make it back to the football world, then I think he’s fine. That’s probably the biggest hurdle, people not taking this as a gimmick."
According to Frampton, Robinson's next step depends on what opportunities present themselves in both basketball and football.
"If they take him serious -- because he’s serious -- if they take him serious, there will be no basketball that’s going to come in the way of a legitimate opportunity for success on the football field," Frampton said.