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Panthers select Kenny Robinson in NFL draft; safety left college for XFL

By Kevin Seifert
Courtesy of ESPN

The Carolina Panthers drafted former XFL safety Kenny Robinson in the fifth round of the NFL draft Saturday, capping his unique path to the NFL.

Robinson earned all-Big 12 honors at West Virginia in 2018, but he was dismissed from school because of an academic violation. Instead of sitting out the 2019 season as part of a transfer, Robinson decided to sign with the XFL.

He was the only player in the new league who had college eligibility remaining. In five games for the St. Louis Battlehawks, Robinson intercepted two passes...

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A one-of-a-kind path to the NFL draft: How the XFL's BattleHawks prepped ball hawk Kenny Robinson

By Kevin Seifert
Courtesy of ESPN

(Editor's note: Robinson was drafted in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. This story was originally published April 18, 2020.)

For a moment, Kenny Robinson was a trailblazer. He was the first to follow a new path to the NFL draft, one that put money in his pocket and bypassed the restrictive structure of college football. If all went well in the coming years, dozens of players would leave school early and follow his route through the XFL...

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A Letter to NFL GMs

By Kenny Robinson Jr.

Dear NFL General Managers,

I’m sure you’ve talked to a lot of NFL draft prospects over the past few months, and even more in all the years you’ve been working the draft. I bet you’ve heard a lot of stories.

But you probably haven’t heard many like mine.

The past 18 months have been the craziest of my life. It started with a phone call in November 2018, near the end of my sophomore season at West Virginia. My brother Andre and my sister Danielle called and told me that my mom had had a stroke. I didn’t even know what a stroke was. All I knew was that in my mind, it was like a heart attack. Something people die from. They told me everything was fine and that I didn’t have to come home, but … c’mon. It was my mom. She’s everything to me...

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