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NFL AM: Alabama Crimson Tide Prospect Rolls Through Court

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Cam Robinson Escapes Charges

One of the top prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft, Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson, as well as Tide safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones escaped prosecution in a Louisiana court as the DA cited insufficient evidence in charges that the two young men were in illegal possession of a firearm and were in possession of a controlled substance.

“I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years, working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning,” district attorney Jerry Jones told KNOE-TV.

The one part of this statement that doesn’t make sense is that these two were “working and sweating while we were all in the air conditioning.”

What?

If there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute them, that’s fine.  It’s the law and if there isn’t enough evidence there’s nothing wrong with what Jones did.

But to say that the young men were “sweating” when everyone else were in the “air conditioning” insinuates some sort of false heroism because they played football.

Of course they were sweating, they were playing a sport…outside….in the heat of Louisiana where the two grew up.

In the wake of the latest O.J. Simpson documentary it seems like the DA was bringing race into his judgement and serving in an area with a high African-American population this seems like a disingenuous reach at grandstanding for his constituency.

No, this doesn’t look like a football program helping to cover up some arrests of a star player.  This looks like regular justice and probably wouldn’t be spoken much about if Jones didn’t make his idiotic comment.

As for any repercussions, Alabama head coach Nick Saban stated numerous times that he wanted to gather more information about the situation.  With the Tide’s opener being against USC, it’s not likely that there will be any slap on the wrist punishment, at least for Robinson, who is one of the best offensive tackle prospects in a few years.

Robinson will ultimately have to answer questions about this in January as he likely goes through the poking, prodding and investigation by NFL teams in the draft process.

He will have to answer why police smelled marijuana in the vehicle both he and Jones were in and why there was a stolen handgun under the seat, with another handgun present in plain sight.

With former Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil’s smoking video leaked the night before the 2016 NFL Draft, there’s no telling how far Robinson could drop.  Tunsil, of course landed in Miami with the Dolphins with the 13th overall pick.

Kickoffs Going Away

It’s pretty much understood that the kickoff as we know it is the most dangerous play in football. 10 men running as fast as they can colliding with 11 other men in the hopes to gain valuable field position.

The NFL obviously recognizes this and has been making strides toward ridding the game of this potentially dangerous play.

A few years ago, the league moved the kickoff spot from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, with the result being a significant increase in touchbacks.

This season, the league doubled-down by incentivizing touchbacks as teams will start from the 25-yard line instead of the 20.  Quite a bonus for most teams who don’t have great kickoff return men.

New England Patriots’ special teams star Matthew Slater gave his opinion on the changes.

“There’s a lot of speculation as to the future of the kickoff,” Slater told reporters last week. “I know this year I think it’s going to be interesting to see how teams approach it because [the touchback] gives the team the ball on the 25 [yard line]. That changes field position quite a bit. It seems like just five yards, but it’s going to be interesting to see how we approach it and how other teams approach it, and I’m very disappointed obviously in the way that we’re discussing the future of the kickoff.

“The kickoff is a big part of the history of the NFL and the history of football and for us to be sitting here talking about maybe doing away with the kickoff, it’s very disappointing. I can think about days all the way back to watching my dad when he played with the Rams and thinking of returners like Ron Brown and people of that nature that made a career out of doing this. You think about Steve Tasker and his impact on the game of football, Bill Bates, the list goes on. The kicking game has meant a lot to the game of football and to a lot of players individually and it’s enabled guys to have careers. You think about Larry Izzo, you think about myself. Without the kicking game we don’t have a career. I’m very disappointed in some of the things I hear in regards to getting rid of the kickoff. I surely hope that’s not the case. I hope that’s not the direction that we’re moving in but we’ll see.”

Unfortunately, this will likely have the opposite affect from what the league was trying to accomplish.

“It might backfire,” Slater said. “We’ll see, we’ll see. I don’t know how other teams are going to approach it, and quite honestly I don’t know how we’re going to approach it yet. Right now we’re just practicing our techniques the same way we would as if it was last year. So, we’ll see but I certainly think there’s a possibility that a lot of coaches are not just going to want to hand teams the ball on the 25-yard line. So, we’ll see.”

Slater doesn’t buy in that the extra five yards is insignificant.

“That’s a half of another first down and moving that thing up, that field position is so big,” Slater said. “I’m not 100 percent familiar with the numbers but I think drives that start at the 25 certainly do end in scoring more often that drives that start at the 20 or behind that. Football to the common fan, they may not understand this, but it’s a game of field position. Field position is big in the game of football and if you’re just handing some of the great quarterbacks in this league an extra five yards I think it certainly changes the game. I certainly don’t want to give Tom Brady the ball on the 25-yard line. I’d rather him have it on the 20 if I’m playing against him or behind the 20. Field position is huge in this game and you’re adding an additional five percent of the field to the offense.

With the 25-yard line start being such a penalty to defenses, it’s more than likely that instead of kickers “bombing away” off the tee, they will try to hit high, wedge-type of shots in the corners of the field to try and force returns.

Good try NFL.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.