‘Me Just Being A Great Teammate:’ LB Elandon Roberts Remembers His Emergency Fullback Days

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Elandon Roberts to play linebacker. But if the team ever gets in a pinch and needs an emergency fullback, Roberts might be their guy. In 2019, he filled in as an emergency option at fullback. His selflessness paid off, catching a 38-yard touchdown from Tom Brady, and in a 1v1 interview with’s Missi Matthews, Roberts talked about how he ended up on the other side of the ball.

“I just think it was just being a good teammate,” Roberts told Matthews. “I was a captain at that time. We had a lot of guys go down from a fullback standpoint, so it was kind of like, ‘Hey,  I was just trying to help out.'”

The Patriots have been one of the few teams in football to rely on a fullback and that year lost James Develin and Jakob Johnson to injury. Roberts stepped up and stepped in, logging 58 offensive snaps that season. His big moment came against the Miami Dolphins in the regular-season finale, a catch-and-run into the end zone down the right sideline.

“I had a certain play that I went out for a route and it just so happened that we came back and Tom was like, ‘Hey, you were wide open, so I’ll call the play again in the second half. If you’re open, I’m throwing you the ball.’ I was like, alright.”

True to his word, Brady called it again and Roberts was again left open. He made a nice adjustment to the ball, reaching over his head, broke a tackle, and took off into the end zone for the score to tie the game at 17. Take a look at the play.

Roberts told Matthews he vowed to score as soon as he caught the football. It was his only reception of the season, the only one of his career, but he made it count.

There’s no indication the Steelers have any plans to put Roberts back on offense. FB Derek Watt remains a free agent but Connor Heyward should have an increased role in Year Two and perhaps wear more of that fullback hat. And it seems Roberts’ time at fullback, though glorious in that moment, wasn’t what he wanted to do. As part of his shift to fullback, Roberts’ defensive playing time greatly diminished. After the season, he took to Instagram to say ‘I’ll NEVER be back on [offense] again.”

Roberts prefers to be back where he’s at. On defense, playing linebacker. Hitting people instead of the one being hit. And that’ll be his role in 2023.

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