John Leglue has played in a whopping six NFL games in his career since going undrafted out of Tulane in 2019. He has spent time with four different organizations, however, including the New Orleans Saints in 2019 on their practice squad, the Green Bay Packers between 2019 and 2020 (during which he had an opportunity to be on the 53-man roster as an inactive for the first time in his career), and finally with the Pittsburgh Steelers since December 29, 2020.
During that time, he got to work with three legendary quarterbacks, all of whom will end up in the Hall of Fame five years after their retirement. The first up will be Drew Brees, who retired after the 2020 season. Of Brees, he told Elijah Nixon of KALB, “Drew was the first one in and the last one out. There was one time where I thought I was the only person in the building, and he was already there watching a film”.
The second-year man also recalls Aaron Rodgers in a positive light, describing him as “always nice. I didn’t think he knew my name, but around Christmas time he gave me a gift and along with the other linemen, and it’s the small things that go a long way”.
Leglue spent most of the 2020 season on the Steelers’ practice squad, but was eventually called up due to injuries. Further injuries gave him an opportunity to start at left guard, where he would play the final six games of the season, including the playoffs. He saw out the final stretch of Ben Roethlisberger’s career, who just retired this offseason.
“Ben was amazing”, he told Nixon about his time working with Roethlisberger. “He was a leader and in his last year in the Black and Gold, he would always preach about doing things the right way. He took the young guys under his wing and I can’t be more thankful for his leadership”.
Roethlisberger has seen a lot of different offensive linemen start games in front of him over the course of his nearly two decades in the NFL. Leglue holds the distinction of being the final offensive lineman to make his first start, and make his NFL debut, blocking for him, and also of being on the field for his final play, his final pass, his final touchdown—his final everything.
It’s been an exciting stretch for Leglue, who has defied the odds to stick around as long as he has and to make progress, but he surely knows nothing is guaranteed in his future, and acknowledges that all he can control is the work he puts in.
The fact that he is capable of playing all five positions (including center, but only in an emergency) will help him, but the Steelers view him primarily as an interior player, where they’ve just added James Daniels and Mason Cole as free agents.
In addition to Daniels and Cole, Pittsburgh also returns from last season Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, and J.C. Hassenauer. They generally carry five interior offensive linemen on the roster, so he could be the odd man out. But that won’t discourage him from working.