GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – Brett Favre sharply criticized the way the NFL handles substance abuse problems Wednesday, a day after teammate Koren Robinson was suspended for the season, apparently because of a drunken driving charge.

“I don’t like the way the league has, in my mind, turned their back on him,” Favre said. “I’m not against banning him for the year. I’d love for him to play, but to boot him out, clean his locker out and say you can’t have no contact with this team?”

Favre, who entered the NFL’s substance abuse program during treatment for an addiction to painkillers in 1996, said it doesn’t make sense that the policy bans his teammate from the Packers’ facilities “and the support group that can help him.”

NFL spokesman Michael Signora said the league had no comment.

The league’s policy includes a stipulation against consuming alcohol while participating in its substance abuse program. Robinson apparently violated that before being arrested Aug. 15, when police said the receiver’s blood-alcohol content was 0.11 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08.

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of drunken driving and fleeing police in a high-speed chase near the south-central Minnesota town of St. Peter.

In the eyes of the NFL, the difference between Favre’s case and Robinson’s was that Favre sought help under the league’s substance abuse policy and voluntarily entered a treatment facility after suffering a seizure while in the hospital for ankle surgery.

Favre wasn’t subject to punishment, only periodic drug testing used for treatment. He also complained Wednesday about being banned himself from drinking when he was in the NFL’s program, though he made a conscious effort after his treatment to quit drinking to prolong his career and be a good family man.

Still, Favre said the league’s decision on Robinson doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s best interest.

“I’m no expert, but I would think you would want for people to reach out to him and be within an organization that can help him as opposed to saying, ‘You’re banned from the building. To make matters worse, we don’t even want you over here, so go think about it and deal with it on your own,”‘ Favre said.

Robinson said as recently as Monday he didn’t expect to be suspended, but the league moved quickly against him. He did not return a phone call Wednesday.

His agent, Alvin Keels, said that Robinson is in a “state of shock” and thought the league would wait to hand down its punishment.

Robinson had caught seven passes for 89 yards and averaged 21.1 yards on 12 kickoff returns in four games for the Packers this year. He is eligible to be reinstated no sooner than Sept. 18, 2007.

Favre said Robinson told him last week that despite his troubles, he thought he had a lot of years left. Favre responded that he wished he could have played with Robinson earlier in his career.

“(He’s) really a great guy,” Favre said. “It’s unfortunate that he has to go through this, but maybe it makes him a better person. Whether or not it makes him a better player remains to be seen I think the most important thing is his health and his family.”

The suspension leaves the Packers without a proven No. 3 receiver with Ruvell Martin and other players expected to fill in with Robert Ferguson still on crutches after a foot injury.

AP-ES-10-18-06 1838EDT


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