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Air Force's Jalen Robinette lands in NFL rookie mini-camp with Buffalo Bills

May 12, 2017 Updated: May 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm
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AFA wide receiver Jalen Robinette reacts to scoring a touch down during the AFA season opener against Abilene Christian University at Falcon Stadium on Saturday, September 3, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

Jalen Robinette is in rookie mini-camp with the Buffalo Bills this weekend, The Gazette confirmed on Friday morning after several reports from Buffalo listed him among the camp's invitees.

This is the second weekend in a row that Air Force's all-time leader in receiving yards will have participated in a tryout camp. He was with the New England Patriots last week, The Gazette learned through multiple sources. But that appearance did not result in a signed contract or further plans for Robinette to participate with the Patriots.

New England did not provide a list of players attending last week's camp, and Robinette has not spoken publicly since the NFL Draft.

Robinette was one of seven wide receivers listed on the list of Bills camp invitees, including East Carolina’s Zay Jones who was a second-round draft selection.

NFL Combine Football
Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) 

Robinette expected to be drafted, but the Department of Defense altered its position to require service academy graduates to serve at least two years on active duty before pursuing professional sports full-time. The previous rule, in effect for just one year, had allowed athletes to immediately apply to serve on reserve status and play right away.

Air Force informed Robinette that the policy was changing about an hour after the NFL Draft began on April 27.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Robinette led Air Force in receiving yardage in each of his four seasons. He finished his career with 120 catches for 2,697 yards and 18 touchdowns. He then participated in the East-West Shrine Game, the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.

Wyoming Air Force Football
Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass on an option play against Wyoming during the second half of an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) 

Robinette joins several other Falcons as undrafted free agents attending rookie mini-camps. DB Weston Steelhammer (Eagles), DL Ryan Watson (Cardinals), OLB/DB Jacob Onyechi (Packers, Saints) and DL/OL Sam Byers (Falcons) will also get a tryout.

Assuming the Department of Defense doesn’t make exceptions for this class or change its new rule, these players would be able to stay with teams through most of the summer before reporting to their first military assignment. This is the route that several Air Force graduates have followed in the past before eventually playing professionally.

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