Cornerback Dunta Robinson came up with a brilliant idea to pressure Houston Texans’ brass into signing him to a long-term, big-money deal: Put a message on the back of his spikes to embarrass General Manager Rick Smith into giving up the bucks.
The message, picked up by the TV cameras during Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, read “Pay Me, Rick.” During a brief appearance at a news conference following the game, Robinson said, “It's just a little reminder for myself what I'm playing for,” he said. “It's a reminder that this is what we're here for.”
But instead the intended effect, Robinson will be “paying out” the bucks – $25,000 of them – and he was the one embarrassed following the Texans’ 24-6 loss.
He issued the following apology: “It was regrettable,” Robinson said. “I didn't put that much thought into it. It didn't mean that much to me. If it offended anybody, I apologize. It wasn't (meant to be) that serious at all.”
Robinson has been angry at Smith and the Texans’ front office for using the franchise designation on him after failing to reach an agreement on a new long-term contract. He stayed away from training camp but showed up last week and signed his one-year tender for $9.957 million and started against the Jets.
“That was something I did a long time ago, and I wore them to the first game,” he said. “When I got those shoes three months ago, Rick and I weren't seeing eye to eye. It was all fun and games. I don't think Rick took it personally. It wasn't meant that way. If I had thought it would bring some negativity in here (locker room), I wouldn't have put them on. The guys laughed about it. I won't wear them again. I guess it rubbed people the wrong way, and I don't want to be in that situation again.”
Owner Bob McNair wasn’t one of those laughing. “I don't agree with it because it sends the wrong message,” McNair said. “It bothers me because I thought he had put that behind him. I didn't get in this business to make money; I got in to win a championship. I want our players to feel the same way.”