In our tenth installment in this series, we were able to catch up with former Alabama cornerback Ramzee Robinson. To get the complete interview, click here:
During his time as an Alabama football player, the word swag was not used nearly as much as it is today. However, if you could travel back in time and find the word in the dictionary, Ramzee Robinson’s picture would encapsulate not only the word, but the essence of the word’s colloquial meaning.
A man who went by many nicknames throughout his tenure in Crimson and White will forever and affectionately be known as “Bino” among fans, friends, and teammates. The name, is but a microcosm of the man and what he truly embodied as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Growing up in the projects of Huntsville, Alabama, all it took was a dream and an inspiration to drive Bino to be what he was destined to be. Before the Butler High School star wreaked havoc on the football field, it was the many days having to see his mother struggle to support he and his four other siblings by working 60 hours per week just to ensure her children could have everything they needed. Even at a young age, Bino realized while the sacrifice was more than appreciated, that life was not meant for his family and a desire burned inside of him to ensure his mother’s efforts were not in vain. The idea that he could possibly change her life through football was all the motivation he needed to want to better himself.
Bino arrived to Tuscaloosa in 2002, and redshirted that season, which had all sorts of distractions and confusion alone. Most notably concerning the man who promised Bino, along with many others, he’d be his coach throughout his college career — decided to depart without a goodbye leaving many impressionable youngsters such as him behind forcing them to grow up faster. According to Bino, “It was bitter sweet…I was used to whoever my coach was I was used to trusting this male to lead me on and off the field…But…it gave me a reality check. It gave me an opportunity to mature at a young age.”
In 2003, with a new coach and new mindset, Bino earned a larger role as the team’s nickel back. While the coaching change fiasco helped him grow up a bit, a deeper level of maturity was still needed. That moment manifested itself earlier in that season when Northern Illinois, a seemingly lowly opponent, marched into Tuscaloosa and embarrassed the Tide as well as Bino — who gave up a crucial play in the game, thus ending the Tide’s chances at a possible comeback victory. The game was a wakeup call for Bino bringing him to a critical crossroads decision to make following the game. According to him, “I had to make a choice after that game whether to be a mediocre DB or a great DB. I made a decision that night that I want to be the best corner in the country. That motivated me, and sent me on a path of reckless abandon to be great.”
The term mediocre would never be used to describe Bino as his play the following spring earned him the starting left cornerback spot allowing the coaches to move two-year starter Charlie Peprah to safety — giving the Tide one of the best secondary units in the SEC and eventually the country. The spot he earned would not be relinquished and his play eventually earned him All-SEC honors as one of the top corners in the talent-rich league.
After the 2005 season in which the Tide finished 10-2 and a No. 1 defense, Bino had his work cut out for him in 2006 where he was the lone returning starter in the secondary as well as apart of a rebuilding defensive unit. After the season he was eligible for the draft and wound up becoming Mr. Irrelevant, which goes to the NFL Draft’s final pick and that year he was selected by the Detroit Lions.
The selection could not be more apropos as the miniature in stature player was always considered to be an afterthought growing up. Who would have thought a kid from Northwood and Mason Court projects, raised by a single mother, considered too short by some, and ultimately written off by many after early college struggles would wind up making it to the highest level of football?
The truth is, he wasn’t supposed to make it. Many times, these stories don’t end this well. As a poor kid from the inner city, he was irrelevant to many, but to him, he saw greatness. That’s why the chip on his shoulder grew into the size of a boulder and the too short, loud-mouthed, trash-talking corner dared anyone to knock it off.
Now, he’s never been more relevant in his life. Married for five years with two children, Bino is a success. He’s a general manager for a staffing agency in Colorado and has taken up acting part-time and has a role in the movie Woodlawn, which is set for release this fall.
As a man of deep faith, Bino is on a mission continuing to strive for greatness. His outlook on life has never been more clear and while his playing days may be over, his competitive spirit burns just as strong as it did on the gridiron. If you think he’s content with his life, you don’t know him very well. The man with many nicknames and a voice willing to converse to any ear that will lend itself is on a mission. That oversized chip on his shoulder is still there, and for Ramzee, aka, Bino, aka, Showtime, aka, GoGetIt, aka 1Time, aka, Uno, aka Mighty Mouse, aka Lockdown — try to knock it off — if you dare.