Panthers color analyst Eugene Robinson addressed the team before the Panthers left Charlotte on Sunday, warning players of the pitfalls and temptations that can ruin Super Bowl week.
Robinson knows the subject all too well.
Robinson was arrested the night before Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer, on the same day he won the Bart Starr Award for outstanding character and leadership.
Robinson was a starting safety on the Falcons’ only Super Bowl team in 1998, but gave up an 80-yard touchdown pass to John Elway in the Broncos’ 34-19 win.
Robinson politely declined to comment on his speech Monday. But Panthers players said it made an impact on them.
“That’s the first time I heard that story. I didn’t know anything about it,” tight end Ed Dickson said. “It says a lot that he would open up and say something about it. Because a lot of people would hold it in and not even talk about that moment.”
Robinson played 16 years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl ring with Green Bay in 1996.
“Him being an ex-player, him being in that moment, he wanted to make sure nobody else would be that guy again,” Dickson said. “That’s huge.”
Panthers receiver Brenton Bersin knows Robinson well and was familiar with his arrest. He said it was a powerful message.
“He was basically saying don’t mess up,” Bersin said. “And don’t let the hoopla and all the stuff that’s available to you, you don’t have to be doing all that stuff.”