On a Fox Sports radio program with J.T. The Brick last week, Ka’Deem Carey said, “Running backs have the shortest careers.”
At least Carey knows what he’s getting into.
Arizona running backs drafted in the first two rounds have all-too-briefly appeared in the NFL.
- No. 31 overall Trung Canidate, 1,095 yards in four years.
- No. 38 overall Chuck Levy, 217 yards in three years.
- No. 50 overall Chris Henry, 122 yards in four years.
The story Carey might wish to study is that of Marana High School grad Paul Robinson, who gained just 306 yards in his lone Arizona season, 1967, but rushed for 1,023 yards as a Cincinnati Bengals rookie, 1968.
Robinson, who is retired and living in Safford, is a wonderful human being. In 2007, he was presented with the “Pride of Safford” award by city officials, much of it based on citizenship and character.
After becoming the American Football League Rookie of the Year in ’68, Robinson’s football career declined in a hurry. He never gained more than 622 yards again. He had a series of injuries and was out of football by the time he was 29.
He opened a nightclub in Thatcher, worked in the mines at Morenci, became a substitute school teacher, an assistant coach at Eastern Arizona College, and finally established himself as a probation officer in Graham County.
In a 1984 interview with The Associated Press, reflecting on the fleeting nature of the pro football, Robinson said: “I bought clothes, silk shirts, silk socks, leather jackets. Then I bought a new car and put on the best tires. And of course I had the gold chains and diamond rings. But the suits and the alligator shoes don’t do you much good without money in your pocket. It went really fast.”
Robinson carried 737 times in pro ball before his body betrayed him and broke down. Carey had 743 rushing attempts at Arizona.
No one said it would be easy.