For­mer Ir­ish WR Robin­son at peace with de­ci­sion to re­tire

Baltimore Sun - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Bill Wag­ner

Corey Robin­son has no re­grets about re­tir­ing from col­lege foot­ball. But if there is one dis­ap­point­ment for the for­mer Notre Dame wide re­ceiver, it would be not hav­ing one last chance to play against Navy, his fa­ther’s alma mater.

“This is al­ways a re­ally fun game be­cause Navy plays so hard, so phys­i­cal and so dis­ci­plined. What I love the most about the Navy game is the mu­tual re­spect that we have for each other,” Robin­son said Thurs­day.

“Those guys are fu­ture lead­ers of our coun­try and will be fight­ing for our free­dom. So I have noth­ing but the ut­most re­spect for them.”

Robin­son’s foot­ball ca­reer was cut short be­cause of health con­cerns. The 6-foot-5, 214-pound re­ceiver suf­fered his third ca­reer con­cus­sion dur­ing spring prac­tice last March and was forced to con­tem­plate his fu­ture well-be­ing.

Team doc­tors cleared Robin­son to re­sume play­ing in the 2016 sea­son, but the se­nior felt the risk of fur­ther brain dam­age was too great. It was a dif­fi­cult choice for Robin­son, whom Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had gauged as a se­cond- or third-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

“It was by far the hard­est de­ci­sion of my life. It took seven weeks of go­ing back and forth,” Robin­son said. “I had to judge what I wanted to get out of this game and weigh what the long-term and short-term ef­fects were go­ing to be. I just felt the best de­ci­sion Jack­sonville, Fla. Satur­day, 11:30 a.m. TV: Chs. 13, 9 Ra­dio: 1090 AM, 1430 AM Line: Notre Dame by 61⁄ was to step away from the game, but I couldn’t leave my guys. I love this team and this univer­sity too much to not be a part of Notre Dame foot­ball. It was just un­think­able.”

Which is why Robin­son is serv­ing as a stu­dent as­sis­tant coach for the Fight­ing Ir­ish, work­ing with the wide re­ceivers. Last sea­son, the for­mer U.S. Army All-Amer­i­can played along­side the likes of Torii Hunter Jr. and Equanimeous St. Brown. Now he is tu­tor­ing them.

“When Coach Kelly told me I had an op­por­tu­nity to be a stu­dent as­sis­tant, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I would love to be able to do that.’ It was a chance for me to still be around the guys and be a con­tribut­ing mem­ber of the team,” Robin­son said. “When I was com­ing up as a fresh­man and sopho­more, I had older play­ers that helped men­tor me. I wanted to be able to pass that for­ward.”

Robin­son en­joyed a pro­duc­tive three sea­sons for the Ir­ish, to­tal­ing 65 re­cep­tions for 896 yards. His fa­ther, NBA Hall of Famer David Robin­son, be­came a die-hard Notre Dame foot­ball fan — at­tend­ing home games in South Bend all decked out in gold and blue.

“There is a lit­tle bit of dis­ap­point­ment be­cause foot­ball was some­thing Corey was David Robin­son speaks with his son, Corey Robin­son, dur­ing Notre Dame’s Oct. 31, 2015, game against Tem­ple. Corey Robin­son quit foot­ball after suf­fer­ing his third con­cus­sion. very tal­ented at do­ing. He had an op­por­tu­nity to po­ten­tially move for­ward in the sport,” said David Robin­son, the great­est bas­ket­ball player in Naval Academy his­tory.

Corey Robin­son ini­tially had planned to grad­u­ate early last May with a lib­eral stud­ies de­gree, but chose to ex­tend his ed­u­ca­tion by pick­ing up a mi­nor. The San An­to­nio na­tive did so to run for stu­dent body pres­i­dent. He won.

Robin­son might be the busiest stu­dent on the Notre Dame cam­pus. He is a Rhodes Scholar can­di­date and plays gui­tar in a band named Rolf’s Aquatic, which is man­aged by Jesse Bon­giovi, the son of rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

“I’m happy for Corey be­cause he seems very con­tent,” David Robin­son, who played cen­ter for the San An­to­nio Spurs from 1989 to 2003 and was a10-time NBA All-Star, said. “It doesn’t seem to bother him very much that he isn’t play­ing foot­ball any­more. He’s moved on.”

NOTE: Navy an­nounced that the 2020 edi­tion of its foot­ball series with Notre Dame will be played at MetLife Sta­dium in East Ruther­ford, N.J. The schools play this week­end in Jack­sonville, Fla., the 16th site to host a game in the series, and it was pre­vi­ously an­nounced that San Diego would host the 2018 game. Navy ath­letic di­rec­tor Chet Glad­chuk said he is re­view­ing pro­pos­als to host the 2022 Navy-Notre Dame game and men­tioned Baltimore, Wash­ing­ton, Hous­ton, Seat­tle and San Fran­cisco as among the in­ter­ested cities.

MITCHELL LEFF/GETTY IM­AGES

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