Charles Robinson

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Charles Robinson is an award-winning writer who has covered the NFL for newspapers in Michigan and Florida. He also has extensive experience reporting on college football. He graduated from Michigan State with a degree in journalism.

  • Tony Romo, Cowboys can't get in front of phantom flag that hid brilliant rally

    ARLINGTON, Texas – There won't be any getting around the infamy. Not for Detroit Lions fans, anyway. Not in a city where this latest cold, dead postseason failure will be planted 6 feet under – next to the Oakland Raiders' "Tuck Game;" adjacent to the Green Bay Packers' "Fail Mary" and not far from the San Diego Chargers' "Immaculate Deception."

    There is a hole somewhere in there, waiting for Detroit's 24-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Another postseason opportunity squashed, adding to a gruesome 1-11 postseason record since 1957. But this one might be one of the most painful, thwarted by a phantom flag – a fourth-quarter pass interference call against Dallas that was inexplicably (and as video evidence later showed, incorrectly) reversed.

    A moment and a loss that brought even the hardest of hearts – like Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh – to crack.

    "I didn't expect this," Suh said afterward, with a shaking voice and tears welling in his eyes. "That's what it comes down to."

    Suh

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  • 49ers' coaching reboot to feature a company man that Jim Harbaugh never could be

    Say yes. Schmooze. Engage the media. Play office politics. Don't be overly independent. Be flexible with compensation. Do all of this, and you might be the proper head-coaching fit for the San Francisco 49ers.

    But read your history before signing on. It's ugly. And it repeats itself.

    Jim Harbaugh is out, and it seems the chief requirement for this franchise will be: Just don't be Jim Harbaugh. If there is some way to be the complete opposite of Jim Harbaugh, do that. All the time, if possible. Appease the power structure first, win second.

    Forget Camelot and all the championships, when Bill Walsh micromanaged his roster on a molecular level. A new 49ers program has been coded. And you don't skip commands. Jim Harbaugh got a game ball in his final game as Niners coach. (USA TODAY Sports) Jim Harbaugh got a game ball in his final game as Niners coach. (USA TODAY Sports)

    We think things like this can't happen in the NFL, that the biggest part of appeasing ownership and the front office is winning. But with 49ers egos in play, you must win with a smile and a salute. Or this happens: a four-year run can include three NFC title games, one Super Bowl

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  • Cowboys' Tony Romo right to strut into playoffs with MVP bravado

    ARLINGTON, Texas – Tony Romo emerged from the locker room Sunday with a little of that Texas swagger on his chest.

    Not figuratively. His choice was something more literal following the 42-7 face-stomp of the Indianapolis Colts. Slipping through a doorway afterward, the T-shirt worn by the Dallas Cowboys quarterback flaunted block letters:

    "COWBOYS RUN THE EAST". (NFL) (NFL)

    That's a fact. The New York Giants tripped at the starting line; the Washington Redskins devoured themselves from within and the Philadelphia Eagles fell into a tailspin. The playoff-bound Cowboys don't just run the NFC East this season. They own it.

    For this franchise, it's a significant step forward. The Cowboys look as complete as they ever have, drawing forth memories of the 1990s: stout offensive line, bell-cow running back, opportunistic and speedy defense. Team owner Jerry Jones is smiling. Seemingly everyone is in line for contract extensions this offseason.

    Then you see Romo in that shirt, with a little bit of

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  • Adrian Peterson's potential exit plans from Vikings took hit in losing appeal

    The writing on the wall for Adrian Peterson's suspension appeal came in the form of a telephone that never rang. In an odd way, that might be the perfect scenario for the Minnesota Vikings.

    Peterson's appeal appeared dead shortly after arbiter Harold Henderson ordered the league and NFL Players Association to find a way to resolve Peterson's appeal without Henderson playing the final judge and jury. But the NFL never reached out to strike a resolution, a source familiar with the proceedings told Yahoo Sports. Instead, the source said, the league stood pat, confident Henderson (a former NFL executive) would rule in its favor, which seemed likely, considering Henderson was appointed by league commissioner Roger Goodell … who was, in effect, Henderson's boss when he worked for the NFL. (AP) (AP)

    That led us to Friday, with Peterson shut down for the rest of the season, and the NFL surely happy to have bounced back after having a suspension overturned against former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice.

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  • Adrian Peterson loses appeal

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson lost his appeal of a suspension for violating terms of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, the league announced Friday.

    Peterson was seeking reinstatement after being suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last month after pleading no contest to misdemeanor wreckless assault for spanking his 4-year old son with a switch. Goodell suspended Peterson through April 15, but Peterson and the NFL Player’s Association appealed for instant reinstatement.

    Peterson now must wait until April 15 to apply for reinstatement, at which point the league will once again review his conduct and make a determination.

    The decision, issued by arbitrator Harold Henderson, is being contested by the players' union, which issued a statement immediately after the ruling that said, "The NFLPA expected expected this outcome, given the hearing officer's relationship and financial ties to the NFL. The decision itself ignores the facts, the evidence and the collective

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  • Five reasons why Robert Griffin III will be Redskins' starting QB in 2015

    For this quarterback, it all started with fanfare, excitement and an eye toward the future. But injuries derailed that promise. By year three, if the media wasn't throwing around the word "bust," the fanbase was willing to do it.

    Sound familiar? If you're a fading fan of Robert Griffin III, it should.

    But look through the lens of history, and you might be surprised. We could be talking about Drew Brees. Or Alex Smith. Or Aaron Rodgers. Much like Griffin this season, that trio of very successful NFL quarterbacks finished their third season in the league under some significant doubts. An ankle injury and poor play have dogged Robert Griffin III this season. (USA TODAY Sports) An ankle injury and poor play have dogged Robert Griffin III this season. (USA TODAY Sports)

    Lest anyone forget, Brees was so bad in his first three years that former San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith drafted Eli Manning and then traded Manning for Philip Rivers. All with the aim of supplanting Brees by the start of the following training camp. Rodgers? He sat behind Brett Favre in Green Bay, struggled with injuries and development, and crashed in preseason opportunities. It took

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  • It's up to Wilson to save Seahawks' offense from front office's poor decisions

    PHILADELPHIA – It would have been a perfect time to dial in an exceptional No. 1 receiver, but none exists for the Seattle Seahawks. An explosive change-of-pace hybrid? That wrinkle vanished when the franchise called a roster reverse, shipping Percy Harvin and his attitude out of town. So Seattle called on one of the few dynamic players it had on offense, and Russell Wilson faked a handoff and took the most naked bootleg you'll ever see, searing a path between two defensive backs for a 26-yard touchdown.

    It was a stunning moment for Wilson against a run blitz, the stuff we got used to the past two seasons but haven't seen much this year. In a split second, he left a wild Philadelphia Eagles crowd mute, and breathed life into a flat-lining Seattle offense. It would ultimately be the play that turned the Seahawks around, erasing a 7-0 deficit, igniting an eventual 24-14 road win, and leaving Eagles coach Chip Kelly befuddled. Russell Wilson took some hits, but kept the Seahawks in playoff contention. (Reuters) Russell Wilson took some hits, but kept the Seahawks in playoff contention. (Reuters)

    "We couldn't generate enough pressure and get him down,"

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  • Adrian Peterson's shot at appeal as laughable as NFLPA's feeble swipes at Goodell

    Adrian Peterson's season is done. Close the polling stations, turn out the lights and lock the doors.

    Of course, we'll hear plenty of ineffectual grandstanding and crankiness from the NFL players union (certainties trailing only death and taxes). And an appeal has already been announced, which will be fruitless. Perhaps Peterson will publicly lament his final judgment, which essentially amounts to a 15-game suspension and a fine equal to his last six game checks.

    But if you're a Minnesota Vikings fan, or an Adrian Peterson fan, or just playing a contrarian, don't waste the oxygen. All that remains is paper-shuffling and tens of thousands of dollars in billable hours for the lawyers. It will all end at the same place: Peterson will be suspended, the NFL Players Association will be powerless, and the league's best running back will start to think about the remainder of his career. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

    If Peterson's case has taught us anything, it's two things:

    First, in the wake of the league's Ray Rice

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  • Part-time comedian Jonas Gray no joke for Patriots against Colts

    INDIANAPOLIS – Prior to Sunday night, Jonas Gray's résumé was the stuff of trivia. The kind of thing that drew attention for all the wrong reasons.

    Failed expectations as a running back at Notre Dame. … Knee injury. … Undrafted. … Released by three NFL teams. … Part-time stand-up comedian. … Performed an opening set for Screech from "Saved By the Bell". … New England Patriots practice squad player.

    Jonas Gray, center, celebrates a first-half TD with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. (AP)Jonas Gray, center, celebrates a first-half TD with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. (AP)Naturally and unfortunately, it's easy to gravitate to the oddity in that list: "Wait, this dude opened up for Dustin Diamond (aka Screech) at a comedy club?" Yes, he did. And yes, he's had a side thing from time to time as a stand-up comedian. He's a funny guy. Now, any football questions?

    This was life before Sunday – before Gray went old school and dropped the NFL microphone, rushing 38 times for 201 yards and four touchdowns in a thumping 42-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts. That's right, the New England Patriots may have unexpectedly found another offensive piece. And keeping history

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  • Why Adrian Peterson, Vikings need to go in separate directions

    Adrian Peterson is ready to move on from the past few months. He said as much last week as he exited a courthouse in Texas. In a stairway convoy with his wife, parents and led by his wing-tipped attorney, the conversation turned to moving on … away from his legal issues … forward as a father … back to his career.

    Adrian Peterson has only appeared in the Vikings' opener this season. (AP)Adrian Peterson has only appeared in the Vikings' opener this season. (AP)He'll eventually get there as a professional – perhaps next week, when the NFL and players' union hash out his inevitable reinstatement. And presumably he'll go back to the Minnesota Vikings and finish out this season. But in a few months, when the offseason arrives, the inevitable should sink in.

    Peterson and the Vikings would be best served to move on again – specifically, in opposite directions. And it should be mutual. The Vikings should be ready to let go, and Peterson should be ready to leave.

    Sure, Peterson will go back to Minnesota. He can go back. He can work there again. But he can't ever truly be the Adrian Peterson that had anchored the franchise. On all fronts,

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