RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar said he’s “very appreciative” that the team stuck by him during his armed robbery case, and he knows the NFL could still suspend him even though his charges were dropped.
“They definitely was by my side the whole way,” Dunbar said Friday. “But at the same time, I know what I did do and I know what I didn’t do, and I wasn’t even really worrying about football at the time. I was just worried about clearing by name.”
Dunbar spoke with reporters via video conference for the first time since the Broward State Attorney announced on Aug. 7 that criminal charges wouldn’t be filed against him due to insufficient evidence. The decision came three months after an incident in Miramar, Florida, in which Dunbar and New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker were accused of stealing money and watches while armed with semiautomatic firearms. Baker is being prosecuted on four counts of armed robbery with a firearm.
“I can’t really comment on that situation with the case still going on, so I can’t really speak on what happened,” Dunbar said, “but the truth will eventually come out.”
Shortly after the May 13 incident, witnesses signed affidavits recanting their original testimony to police that implicated Dunbar and Baker. The New York Daily News reported in July that a search warrant indicated one witness in the alleged robbery oversaw a payoff to four other men at the office of former Dunbar attorney Michael Grieco, who denied a cover-up.
“Honestly I don’t know those guys, never met those guys,” Dunbar said. “The day before, I came in [contact] with them. I pretty much don’t know nothing about these guys.”
He added: “Like I said, it’s an ongoing case. Still going on right now, and it’s pending. That’s all I can really speak on. At the end of the day, I’m good, my name’s cleared and that’s all that matters.”
But Dunbar said that as far as he knows, an NFL suspension is “definitely a possibility.” The league suspended Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed for the first six games of last season after an accusation of domestic violence from a 2017 occurrence. Reed was neither arrested nor charged, with prosecutors also citing insufficient evidence.
“As with any incident, the league could continue its review if new information becomes available,” an NFL spokesperson told ESPN on Aug. 8.
Dunbar, who grew up in the Miami neighborhood of Overtown and is 28, said he was depressed and couldn’t eat while his legal fate was in limbo.
“When you face an armed robbery [charge], that carries life in Florida,” he said. “So that’s self-explanatory. It’s just a hard pill to swallow. I learned from the situation. Growing up where I come from, it wasn’t nice, and I just gotta learn to protect my energy and protect my space. You can’t save or be around everybody or try to make everybody happy. You’ve got to understand who you are and what you work hard for, and you’ve got to protect that because everybody don’t have great intentions.”
Dunbar was asked what he wants people to know about him.
“I feel like, before that situation, it spoke for itself,” he said. “Never been to jail. Never been in trouble, never came in [contact] with the police from doing anything illegal. Now all of the sudden when I make it this far with everything I grew up wanting, I just put it out there on the line for something silly like that, where people are going to believe what they want. But as long as I know who I am and what I stand for, that’s all that matters to me.”
The league removed Dunbar from the commissioner’s exempt list a day after his charges were dropped, clearing the way for him to report to camp. He arrived in Seattle on Aug. 9 and practiced for the first time a week later, after passing COVID-19 testing. He said it’s “everything to me” to take the field after what he went through the past few months.
The Seahawks acquired Dunbar for a fifth-round pick in a March trade with the Washington Football Team. He’s the presumed starter opposite Shaquill Griffin at right cornerback, where Tre Flowers had an up-and-down 2019 season. Dunbar had a head start in his transition to the Seahawks via the work he has done over the past few years with former Seattle assistant Marquand Manuel, who has shown Dunbar the intricacies of the step-kick technique that Pete Carroll has his cornerbacks use. But Dunbar said he has plenty of catching up to do after his late arrival to camp. He participated in their virtual team meetings earlier in the offseason save for a week off he took after the May incident.
“These guys are amazing,” he said. “They welcomed me with open arms, but they’ve been doing that throughout this whole few months; you had guys reaching out to me, [Bobby Wagner], Griffin, just a bunch of guys letting me know that they’re praying for me, hang in there. That was pretty much it so I didn’t expect nothing but these guys to be the same way they’ve been treating me.”
The Seahawks have been easing Dunbar into action, which meant holding him out of team periods until Thursday.
“I haven’t been out there much, but watching those guys go out there and fly around, watching [Jamal] Adams out there flying around, watching Tre Flowers out there competing, making plays and Shaquill making plays,” he said. “I’m not here to step on nobody’s toes. I done played some good ball the last few years, and I just want to come in and help how I can help. I don’t have an ego. I’m not coming in to try to flex or nothing like that. I just want to win. That’s all that matters to me. Everything else will take care of itself.”