By BRYCE MILLER and ANDREW LOGUE — Register staff writers
Former Iowa running back Adam Robinson is returning to Iowa City after bypassing other football offers in order to take a shot at an uncertain future with the Hawkeyes.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Hawkeye,” Robinson said Sunday. “I have no wishes or desires to leave the Hawkeye team.
“So I just have to work hard this semester. Prove myself … and we’ll see where I’m at at the end of the semester.”
Robinson, Iowa’s leading rusher last season, spoke to media for the first time since being dismissed from the program Jan. 3 by coach Kirk Ferentz.
Des Moines attorney Alfredo Parrish, who assisted Robinson after a Dec. 27 charge for marijuana possession, arranged the meeting with Des Moines Register reporters, as well as WHO-TV and KCCI-TV, at the Parrish-Kruidenier law firm near downtown.
“I apologize to my family, former teammates, coaches, my friends, the Hawkeye nation and everyone who supported me,” Robinson said in a prepared statement.
“I know I have disappointed you, and let you down. For that, I am sorry.
“I promise to do better, and I hope you find it in your hearts to forgive me.”
Conversations with Hawkeye coach Ferentz
Robinson said he hopes to follow the path of Hawkeye wrestler Montell Marion, who was recently reinstated to practice after an eight-month exile initially termed a “permanent suspension” that stemmed from an arrest for drunken driving.
“I read that in the paper (Marion’s return) and that’s what made me want to go ahead with this course of action,” Robinson said.
The former Des Moines Lincoln star said he was contacted by Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois, but has not signed a scholarship release from Iowa.
Instead, Robinson will begin drug counseling while in Iowa City and try to improve his academic standing.
“I hope my actions this semester will show I’ve changed, and I’m changing,” Robinson said. “I realize I’ve made some bad choices. Hopefully, with the progress I’m planning to make, it will re-open the door.”
Robinson, who said he was suspended from the Insight Bowl because of academic issues, indicated he felt he was a victim of bad timing — as well as poor judgment.
His marijuana citation came three weeks after Hawkeye receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was arrested on drug charges, sparking concerns there could be a larger problem within the program.
“I can definitely understand from coach Ferentz’s point,” Robinson said. “He was taking a lot of heat for what was going on.
“He did give me a lot of opportunities and I just wasn’t able to abide by the rules.”
Johnson-Koulianos’ arrest fueled Internet speculation, including rumors he and Robinson were seen together at an Iowa City bar.
Hawkeye coaches called Robinson’s mother, Sally, to see if it was true.
“He was in Des Moines, at home,” said Sally Robinson, who attended the Sunday meeting. “I think there are too many variables that come into play, and we all have accountability as a society.
“I would hope that had it been a different time, Kirk would have looked at it a little different, but I certainly understand the stress he was under.”
Does Iowa have drug problem? ‘Not at all’
Robinson said he has not failed a drug test at Iowa, or refused a test — but confirmed he used marijuana on several occasions.
He estimated he was tested three or four times in the past year, between the university, Big Ten and NCAA.
Robinson said his substance abuse issues are related to marijuana, rather than any other drugs. He was asked about the frequency he smoked marijuana.
“It wasn’t like every day, or even two or three times a week,” he said. “… It was probably more once in a while.”
Robinson was asked if there was a drug problem within the Iowa football program.
“Not at all,” he said. “The actions of a few people shouldn’t characterize the whole team, as a whole. The Iowa football team does not have a drug problem. Just because a few athletes who are high profile got in trouble, I think everybody likes to characterize the whole team and the whole organization as a whole.
“And that’s not necessarily fair.”
The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Robinson initially joined the Hawkeyes after receiving a scholarship offer from Northern Iowa.
He redshirted in 2008 and earned a starting spot during Iowa’s 11-2 run to the Orange Bowl in ’09. His 834 rushing yards was the most ever by an Iowa freshman.
Robinson’s two-season total of 1,775 yards ranks 13th on the school’s all-time career list.
“The past three years at Iowa have been some of the best years of my life,” Robinson said. “I’ve met a lot of great people, especially my teammates and the coaches at Iowa.
“I had such a good fit there.”
ROBINSON SPEAKS …
Compiled by the Register’s Bryce Miller and Andrew Logue
Former Iowa football player and Des Moines Lincoln star Adam Robinson answered a range of questions Sunday about his life — on the field and off.
You’re attempting to return to Iowa. Why not try a fresh start somewhere else?
“I feel like that’s kinda quitting and giving up — and I’ve never been that type of person. I’d rather try to work through it this semester and see if the door opens for me to come back.”
Academics were an issue for you during the season. How are your grades?
“This past semester, they took a dive. That’s why this semester, I want to really attack my studies and get on top of it and totally turn this thing around.
“Show that I deserve to be at Iowa, I’m capable of being a good person, doing the right things, making the right choices — that’s the goal I want to accomplish.”
There was speculation about bad feelings between you and former Iowa running back Brandon Wegher
“Me and Brandon, we’re best friends. I heard so many rumors about me and him, and that we weren’t friends — and things like that. That wasn’t even the case. I talked to him just the other day. We were talking about him transferring to Oklahoma.”
Another rumor: Was there a fight between you and defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn in practice?
“Yeah, it happened. Fights happen all the time in practice, though. We talked the next day about it — so we’re fine.”
Did watching Iowa running back Marcus Coker excel in the Insight Bowl create mixed feelings for you?
“I was definitely sad — I obviously wasn’t there, didn’t get to play. But at the same time, I was happy to see the team doing well, and see Marcus doing well. I would say I was more happy, than I was feeling down. Because when I left the team, we had hit a losing streak.
“So to see them having success on the field, that brought some joy to me.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football