Pirates Profile: R.J. Roberts
By: Mike Reid
January 13, 2021
R.J. Roberts is entering his tenth season as a professional football player and next season will be his third straight stint with the Pirates. He has garnered proven experience in the top professional indoor football leagues during his career. It’s been a long football journey for Roberts and he is ready to give this 2021 season his all. Roberts shared insight on his life, both on and off the field, in this edition of ‘Pirates Profiles’.
R.J. Roberts takes his offseasons very seriously. He uses the time to mentally recharge from the previous year, train to get better for the next season, and focus on other passions outside of football.
“I treat the offseasons as if I’m training for the NFL Scouting Combine. I want to be a factor next season.” Roberts told masspiratesfootball.com. “Now that I’m older, it’s more mental. I have to take extra good care of my body. A lot of emotions go into my workouts nowadays and more film time, too. I’ve been staying positive this offseason and have been visualizing making plays.”
Outside of football, Roberts takes pride in helping people, especially local kids in his community. In 2018, the Pirates edge rusher started a GoFundMe page called ‘Camp4Kids’, which helped raise money in low income areas for youth workout camps. Roberts also started coaching high school football in Florida this offseason.
“Putting others first, especially kids, is what I care most about. Leading by example and showing them good ways comes with that. I got this mentality from my parents. It’s all about showing more love than hate and staying positive.”
Roberts spends his offseasons close to his family, in both his hometown of Enterprise, Alabama and in Tampa, Florida. Enterprise is a country town known for its sports. With a population of about 28,000 people, there’s a lot of room for down time. This is where Roberts is able to focus at his best.
Enterprise is also where Roberts grew up. His dream of becoming a professional football player began when he was eight years old, around the same time he started playing sports. He looked up to his older cousin Larry Roberts, who was a two-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers.
“I thought if Larry (Roberts) could win Super Bowls, I could too.”
Roberts was a standout football and basketball player in high school and received college scholarships for both sports. He decided to pursue his dream of making it to the NFL, though. He chose to attend Troy University, just twenty minutes away from his hometown in Enterprise.
“It was good to be in the same area (that I grew up) and a lot of kids looked up to me. I helped push kids as a role model.”
While in college, Roberts played against great talent, including the likes of University of Arkansas running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and University of Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno. He also played against Dez Bryant’s Oklahoma State Cowboys, a game in which Troy won. His most memorable college football experience, however, was a road game at the University of Florida, better known as ‘The Swamp’. His mission in that game was the same as others, but this matchup felt a bit different than the rest.
“I was facing the Heisman winner in Tim Tebow. That day, all you heard were Gator claps.”
R.J. Roberts loves being a part of the Massachusetts Pirates ‘brotherhood’ and is licking his chops for his return to the gridiron this Spring. Although he has suited up in both the 2018 and 2019 Pirates seasons, Roberts has appeared in just 5 regular season games for the organization. His numbers do the talking though, as he has racked up 8.5 career sacks in that time, along with 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, a blocked field goal and a defensive touchdown.
Pirates fans should be licking their chops as well. We are all looking forward to watching R.J. Roberts this season. The ten-year veteran will look to wreak havoc on the defensive line once again.
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