Favre hopeful of Robinson's return

Koren Robinson

Brett Favre told reporters on Wednesday that he has spoken by phone with suspended wide receiver Koren Robinson, and hopes that Robinson will soon be eligible to return to the Packers.

Brett Favre is at the controls of the league's No. 1 passing offense, but that's not going to stop the newly turned 38-year-old from being greedy.

Favre went out of his way Wednesday to all but roll out the red carpet for a hoped-for return to the team by banished receiver Koren Robinson.

"I think he can offer a lot," Favre said.

Never mind that the Packers, who are compensating for a 31st-rated rushing offense by averaging 294.6 yards per game through the air, would seem to be set with three quality receivers. They host the Redskins on Sunday.

Perhaps rookie James Jones' sudden case of fumble-itis prompted Favre's latest call to Robinson on Tuesday. The two veterans have spoken by phone a couple times in as many weeks.

Based on the recent conversations, Favre indicated that Robinson could be meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell by week's end to discuss Robinson's plea for reinstatement.

The league suspended Robinson for a year on Oct. 17, 2006, as a repeat offender of its substance-abuse policy.

Robinson submitted his application for reinstatement in September. If Goodell obliges, Robinson, who is under contract with the Packers, would be eligible to play again as of next Wednesday.

"Everything seems to be going great for him. That's fantastic," Favre said. "He's eager to get back. He said he's in tremendous shape."

Favre was critical last season, after Robinson was bounced, about the league's stipulations that a team isn't allowed to have contact with a suspended player and the player is barred from team facilities.

The never-bashful quarterback, who instantly connected with Robinson after the Packers signed him early last season, had some choice words Wednesday with regard to off-field issues that have tainted the league's image this year.

"I'm not the commissioner, but I think there needs to be some positives. There hasn't been a whole lot of positive, as far as suspensions and things of that nature," Favre said. "I'm a little bit biased, obviously, but I think (Robinson's) done everything he's been asked to do. It's time to set a good example that you can resurrect not only your career but your life."

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reserved comment Wednesday about Goodell's impending ruling for Robinson.

"That's something that we will watch," McCarthy said.

Favre is keeping his fingers crossed in the interim because he envisions a scenario in which Robinson can be a complementary piece to what's in place with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Jones.

"He was born to play football. He understands the game, and I gathered that from him right away (last year)," Favre said. "He understands how to set guys up and how to run routes and the terminology, how to come back to me. That may take a while (upon his possible return), but a hook route is a hook route, a go route is a go route. He gives us a different dimension and an added dimension to what we have.

"If we want to go five wide receivers, we've proven that we can go empty (in the backfield). It gives us another dimension of stretching the field. Do we put him in right away and is he capable of 20 catches? I seriously doubt it. But, I wouldn't put it past him."

A reinstatement for Robinson would occur during the Packers' bye week. His suspension coincidentally started as Green Bay was coming off its bye in 2006.

As much as McCarthy declared that Favre and his mostly young receiving corps is "on the same page" for the first time, breakdowns were at the root of the Packers enduring their first loss Sunday night against the Bears.

The offense had five turnovers, including two fumbles by Jones in the first quarter. He landed in McCarthy's doghouse, chained to the sideline until the final minute of the first half.

"We've moved on," McCarthy said three days later. "We've just got to do a better job of protecting the football."

Jones has a reputation as a sure-handed receiver, but he was careless with the football in hand as he moved upfield for extra yards in both instances.

"Anytime you carry the ball down around your waist, you're asking for trouble. You catch it, you bring it to your body and you've got to secure it high and tight," McCarthy said. "He has very good hands for a young guy -- he's about as good as I've ever worked with, of catching the ball away from his body and bringing it in to his body. He's just got to be quicker with securing the football high and tight."

Favre vowed to keep throwing to Jones.

"I know he was down on himself and Mike gave him a slap on the wrist on the sidelines, but he's still one of our premier players and he's going to be called upon," Favre said. "I can't lose confidence not only in him but anyone else."

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