As an eight-year veteran in the NFL, new Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Elandon Roberts has been around the block a time or two.
He’s seen it all, experienced it all, and understands what it takes to be successful on and off the field.
Despite all that, he’s really looking forward to being around Steelers team captain and face of the franchise Cameron Heyward, who is entering his 13th season in the NFL. Typically, it’s the young guys who gravitate to the savvy veterans, but in the case of Roberts, he’s the one gravitating to Heyward, looking to pick his brain and learn all that he can from the perennial Pro Bowler.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday following Day 2 of Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Roberts stated that Heyward’s presence is palpable, and that he’s going to be a sponge and take it all in when around the longtime Steelers standout.
“Man, just from Cam walking in the building, you could feel his presence. I’m excited to work with him. I think his presence just don’t go towards the defense. I think it goes for the whole building,” Roberts said to reporters, according to video via Steelers.com. “I think his presence is very, very strong throughout it, and I’m excited to work with that guy, pick his brain on things, how he carries himself on and off the field.
“I’m eight years in, but you know, he has many more than me. So, whatever I need to do to get to his point and to get to his amount of years through his leadership and what he’s putting out there on the field, I’m gonna sponge it and take it all in.”
It’s not often you hear a veteran of Roberts’ stature and experience saying he wants to be a sponge with another veteran. But his comments Wednesday show just how important Heyward is to the Steelers franchise, and how respected he is inside the locker room.
He’s the elder statesman of the team, and he’s still playing at an exceptionally high level while leading by example on and off the field.
Heyward’s presence is rather strong for the Steelers, too. Players gravitate to him, watch how he goes about his business on and off the field, and often try to emulate his work ethic and commitment to his community away from the game. For a veteran like Roberts to come out and say that about a teammate he’s just getting to know, it’s rather remarkable to hear.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard something like this about Heyward and it won’t be the last. Hopefully Roberts can soak up all the knowledge he can get, making him a part of the Steelers’ franchise long-term.