For the first time in the history of the NFL Draft, a player from the XFL was drafted. The player that made that history? Former West Virginia star safety, Kenny Robinson.
The past two years or so have been a rollercoaster for the former Mountaineer. Prior to what was expected to be a huge junior season in 2019 for Robinson, he was expelled from the university for academic fraud, ultimately ending his playing career at West Virginia.
In his letter to the Players Tribune, Robinson explained what went wrong at West Virginia. He was going through a rough time and returned home for a funeral and the coaches and the university knew he had went home, but he turned in an assignment for school during the same time he would have been in a team meeting for football. This raised a major red flag to the university and after the investigation, the situation became clear that he had committed "academic dishonesty".
Shortly thereafter, he hit the transfer portal in hopes for a team to take a chance on him. According to former West Virginia corner, Brandon Napoleon, Robinson was getting calls from several schools including Florida, Miami, an unidentified Big 12 school, and East Carolina. After much consideration, Robinson knew that the best decision for he and his family was to head to the XFL. His mother had two strokes and was diagnosed with cancer, so he knew that getting paid to play would be more beneficial to his family rather than stay at the collegiate level.
After being drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round, Robinson met with the Panthers' media via Zoom and openly admitted to what he had done wrong.
“It was major for me to be so honest because I felt like me owning up to my mistakes was a major part of it. I needed to make it a point that I realized it & learned from it & knew I was becoming a better person & moved on," Robinson stated. "It was just a lazy mistake on my end. I learned from my mistake and learned how to move on and just be patient and make the best out of my situation. Looking back at it, I feel like I became a better man and it just helped me in the backend.”
For many people, adversity is something they can't overcome, let alone when it strikes time and time again. To go through all of what Robinson had went through and still have hope is what determination is all about. He wanted to make it not only for himself, but for his mother and family.
“Through the process, I never lost faith in myself. I’ve always known my whole life that I was an NFL talent - that was always my goal since I was younger. I never gave up on that dream and always felt like I could get there.”
From starring at Imani Christian in Pittsburgh, to West Virginia, to his days in the XFL, Robinson always knew that one day, his dream would be realized.
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