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A view from the Packers' press box

GREEN BAY -- When I made my daily appearance on Drew Olson's "The D-List" Monday morning, the venerable host (and my good buddy) opened the interview with, "Where to start?" And in the aftermath of the Green Bay Packers' 26-0 loss Sunday to the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field, I have no idea.

Seriously, does it get any worse? (Packers fans' response: We hope not.) Losing the regular-season opener. At home. To your longest-standing rival. Without scoring a point. Today, the coaches and players were trying to sell the idea that it wasn't as bad as the 26-0 score indicated. And there may be some truth to that. But it's still bad.

So rather than rehashing it, let's take a shot at what's sure to be a hot-button issue for the next several days: The team's signing of Koren Robinson.

What's your reaction to it? (Feel free to post a talkback below.) I'm not sure what to think. Clearly, from a football perspective, signing the troubled ex-Minnesota and Seattle wide receiver makes sense.

Not only is Robinson's salary not guaranteed -- vested veterans on the roster on opening day are assured of their entire base salary -- now that Week 1 is over, but he fills needs at receiver and kick returner, where he was a Pro Bowl pick and the Packers clearly could use some help.

That said, what about the PR hit the team will take? Or are fans so focused on winning that they don't care much about the fact that the guy was clocked going 104 miles per hour in a 55-mile per hour zone and blew a 0.09 in his blood-alcohol test afterward? He stands accused of one count of felony fleeing and two counts of fourth-degree drunken driving, along with reckless driving, careless driving and driving after suspension.

Curmudgeonly Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Cliff Christl, one of the reporters I admire on this beat, asked Ted Thompson perhaps the gutsiest question I've heard in my 10 years Monday night. "Ted, what if he kills somebody in this state? Driving drunk or speeding away from cops?" Thompson confessed the question caught him "off guard'' but acknowledged it was a "valid question.''

"We've had long conversations with Koren, and he understands that he's made mistakes and he's going to have to improve on that and not do that anymore,'' Thompson said. "I don't anticipating anything like that happening.''

Robinson, meanwhile, didn't make a very favorable impression. Granted, it was a tough setting, but his acknowledgement -- "I know I've made some mistakes in my past ... All I want to do is focus on football and just play football'' -- and refusal to discuss much of anything did little to make you think he was a changed man. That said, my friends in the Twin Cities media tell me Robinson said all the right things last year, and look what happened.

Asked by Christl what assurances he could give the Green Bay community that he won't drive drunk, Robinson replied, "I rather not talk about that, but I can assure you I'm going to give the Packers 110 percent of the best Koren Robinson there is. I can assure them of that.''

There's also the matter of whether Robinson will be able to play the entire season. He served a four-game NFL suspension in 2004 after violating the league's substance abuse policy and was released by the Seahawks following his arrest for drunken driving in May 2005. Robinson is scheduled to appear in Kirkland (Wash.) Municipal Court on Oct. 4 in a probation hearing, which could result in jail time.

Even if it doesn't, Robinson is in "Stage member of the NFL's substance-abuse program, meaning that another violation would result in a yearlong suspension. The Packers must think that even if he is suspended, because he would be able to play while waiting for his appeal to be heard, he could conceivably play the whole season before a decision is reached.

I'm curious to see how this all plays out. And I loved Robinson's one quote: ``I'm all about new beginnings, new starts. ... Now I'm here in Green Bay, a new chapter in my life, just trying to stay focused on football and go down the right path.'' We'll see.

-- Jason Wilde covers the Packers for the Wisconsin State Journal. You can read his stories at the newspaper Web site -- www.madison.com/wsj/home/sports. Wilde also talks about the Packers each morning on "The D-List" and each afternoon on "The World's Greatest Sports Talk Show," on Milwaukee's ESPN Radio 1510 Days / 1290 Nights and Madison's Fox Sports Radio (100.5 FM).

Talkbacks

OMCreader | Sept. 13, 2006 at 11:09 a.m. (report)

Jon D. said: Doesn't it feel as though we are sliding back into the Forrest Greg era?

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OMCreader | Sept. 13, 2006 at 9:20 a.m. (report)

Brian Leonard said: I believe that life is about redemption. The Packers, as a team, team are almost completely devoid of talent. This guy has talent. Why don't we give him a chance and see if the venue in Green Bay in just the tonic, (but not the gin) that Koren Robinson needs. It did wonders for Andre Rison didn't it?

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OMCreader | Sept. 12, 2006 at 8:41 p.m. (report)

jj said: How many people in Green Bay drive drunk every weekend?...the answer? All of them.

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OMCreader | Sept. 12, 2006 at 1:34 p.m. (report)

ned said: Jason, good post. I agree with what Christl had to say and his question to Thompson is right on. However, it's not like there haven't been NFL players who've had problems with the sauce. It's even been well documented with Brett Favre! Do you think the Rams want to get rid of Leonard Little? He killed a woman while driving under the influence.

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