Cincinnati Bengals: Nate Robinson, NBA To NFL

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Mar 8, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Nate Robinson (8) dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Nate Robinson (8) dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Former NBA point guard Nate Robinson is leaving the game of basketball. Robinson has played for the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, L.A. Clippers and the New Orleans Pelicans. The NBA’s first ever three-time Slam Dunk Champion is now setting his eyes on making it in the NFL.

At first, you may snicker and brush it off as if an NBA player could ever play in the NFL. Basketball players are too tall and clumsy, right? Well not all; Robinson is only 5’9″ 190lbs. If you take a second to connect the dots, a 5’9″ point guard was the first three-time Slam Dunk Champion in NBA history. Just to get your attention a little more, Robinson was also originally recruited and given a full scholarship to play cornerback at the University of Washington, before playing three years of basketball for the Huskies.

Nate Robinson is trying to accomplish something that only one person name Bud Grant has ever done; play in the NBA and the NFL. While history has seen it before, it hasn’t seen it with a player of Robinson’s caliber. At 31 years old, Robinson is still one of the most explosive and athletic players in the NBA. Age is certainly the biggest concern, it is important to note, basketball players do not have the same wear and tear on their bodies as football players do. Therefore, a 31-year-old basketball player is much younger than a 31-year-old football player as crazy as that sounds.

As a true freshman at UW,  Robinson played in 13 games, starting six, and recorded two interceptions and made 34 tackles. While he hasn’t played football since then, the knowledge of the game is still there. In his YouTube video that he announced his decision in, he also displayed his knowledge of different coverage schemes. Robinson talked about bail coverage, bump and run, seven yards deep, five yards deep etc.

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So what does this all mean? There is a NBA player, who hasn’t played football in 11 years but wants to rekindle his football magic. While he is 31 years old, he still possesses elite athleticism and at least above average knowledge of the game.

Cincinnati, on the other hand, has a need for cornerback depth and loves players whom others may consider a project. Adam Jones was just recently brought back on a three-year deal, but Dre Kirkpatrick is coming off an average year at best; Darqueze Dennard is coming off a major injury and Leon Hall is a free agent. Besides these players, the inexperience of Josh Shaw and the solid Chris Lewis-Harris are left.

Cincinnati will most likely draft a cornerback in the draft at some point, but it is doubtful that they will have a chance to take one of the top corners, not to mention let them play in year one. The Bengals typically employ a “red shirt year” on most rookies. Insert Nate Robinson, or the NBA’s version of Adam Jones, Robinson and Jones are practically the same size, age, and bring the same intensity. What Bengals fan doesn’t like Pacman(on the field), let alone two?

Robinson could bring another exciting piece to the Bengals franchise, and another great personality to the Steelers-Bengals rivalry. There’s no telling what type of player Robinson is now. It has been 11 years since he laced up a pair of cleats, but if he shakes off some of his rust, he could prove to be a solid piece in Cincinnati for a few seasons.

NFL tight end Marcedes Lewis, NBA veterans Jamal Crawford and Glen Davis definitely believe he could make it in the NFL, saying that football was his better sport anyway. Who knows what he has left, but I am for one interested to see if he could make it and I wouldn’t mind Cincinnati giving him a shot. He could only help the cornerback depth.

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