Eugene Robinson Warned the Panthers Not to Be Like Him During Super Bowl Week (Video)
The vast majority of NFL football players never get the chance to play in the Super Bowl. You would therefore think that the ones who do get the chance would be totally, 100% focused on making the absolute most of their opportunity.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Over the years, the temptations surrounding the Super Bowl have proved too strong for a number of players. And nobody has a more cautionary story to tell than Eugene Robinson.
In 1998, Robinson was an All-Pro cornerback for the 14-2 Atlanta Falcons team that upset the 15-1 Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. On the day before Super Bowl XXXIII, at the annual Super Bowl Breakfast held by Athletes in Action, Robinson was given the Bart Starr Award, which is awarded annually to the NFL player “who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.”
How did Robinson celebrate? By leaving his wife and kids at the hotel that night while he went out and got arrested for soliciting an undercover Miami police officer for sex.
Robinson still played in the Super Bowl against the Broncos the next day. He just played really poorly, giving up an 80-yard touchdown reception to Rod Smith and missing a big tackle that allowed Terrell Davis to go on a long run to the Falcons 10.
Fortunately, Robinson’s story has a bit of a happy ending. You see, he now works as a radio and broadcast analyst for the Carolina Panthers. And on Sunday, he spoke to the team and warned them not to make the same mistakes he did on what he says was the worst night of his life.
The message apparently hit home.
“It was one of the bravest things I’ve seen a guy do,” said head coach Ron Rivera. “When he got done, our guys gave him an ovation. For him to step up and relive that and tell the guys he was wrong, he forgot the reason why he was there, that’s a huge message.”
Cam Newton said most of the guys had never heard Robinson’s story and were thus pretty shocked.
“I know a lot of guys didn’t expect that. For him to have that attitude to open up his life and his stories for us,” Newton said . “It just shows you what type of organization we have. A lot of guys wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable telling everyone their story, but he did. A lot of guys stepped back and understood the value and the importance of stepping back and staying focused in an environment like this.”
Unfortunately, nobody gave the Denver Broncos this speech.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]