July 31, 2009
Dunta: Predictable No-Show on Day 1
by Keith Weiland
As the Texans hit the field for their first of many training camp practices Friday morning, cornerback Dunta Robinson was not among his teammates. Hardly a new development, as Robinson has been conspicuously absent from all team activities since being tendered the franchise tag in February.
So now the vigil begins. How long will Robinson hold out? And what are the implications?
The Houston Chronicle has reported that Robinson will skip all of training camp and the entire preseason before signing his tender in advance of the Week 1 opener versus the Jets. This course of action removes an injury risk for Robinson, and per his tender, he doesn't get paid until the games start anyway.
But while the injury risk is reduced with this approach, it does increase the possibility that Robinson will not be in regular season form once the games begin in earnest. There is nothing guaranteed to him regarding playing time, either.
After missing half a season last year, Robinson returned rusty, far from the form he had at the time he suffered his leg injuries in 2007. In addition to his peer leadership, a big part of his value will be in performing at a very high level on the field this season in order to cash in that big pay day he was hoping to get earlier this year. Sitting out of the entirety of training camp may reduce his chances of getting hurt, but it sure seems to increase the chances his wallet will get hurt, too.
Not helping matters for the Texans is the continued injury woes of second-year cornerback Antwaun Molden. His foot problem has him relegated to the physically unable to perform list to open camp, shrinking the possibility that he could take advantage of Robinson's absence to solidify his spot on the depth chart behind Jacques Reeves and among Fred Bennett and rookie Glover Quin.
So maybe the Texans still need Robinson as badly as Robinson needs to prove worthy of the payday he desires in 2010. Hopefully then he finds a way back to the team at least in time to prepare for the third week of preseason, the Monday Night affair against the Vikings. That is the true litmus test of the exhibition slate anyway, and by then the dog days of training camp will have concluded.
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