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Nix 'gory' play is loved by teammates

As Roosevelt Nix stood by his locker, he joked with all the media surrounding him.

"Dang, this is probably the only time you guys will talk to me all season," quipped Nix.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, whose locker is close by, pulled out his phone and started recording the interview for his social media channels, making sure he captured the rare moment.

Then he gave a plug for Nix.

"Without this man…he makes those blocks," said Smith-Schuster. "That is why I am going to vote for him for the Pro Bowl."

While Smith-Schuster might not be able to vote for his teammate on the official ballot, like many of his teammates he is on the 'Nix for the Pro Bowl' band wagon.

"Easily," said Ramon Foster. "Easily. Not enough credit. He is so much a part of our offensive line that he is on our Christmas gift list."

And the man who benefits the most from Nix's explosive blocks at fullback, well let's just say he jumped at the chance to talk about his teammate.

"He needs to be in there," said Le'Veon Bell, who voluntarily jumped into an interview with Foster to talk about Nix. "He needs to be in there. He doesn't get enough credit. All the things he does for this football team goes unseen. Rosie is the guy. He gets nowhere near enough credit. He does everything he can for me. He puts his health on line for me. Not only that he is the first guy there to help me up off the ground."

If you look at the Steelers offensive stat sheet, you aren't going to see Nix's name. No yards, no carries, no flash and dash for him.

But look at the game film, look at Bell's runs, and that is where you see the impact he makes.

"Rosie is unbelievable," said Alejandro Villanueva. "Watching his play is gory because of the nature of what he does, but he is surprisingly consistent.

"What he brings to the run game is he takes a linebacker on consistently, and does it a manner to allow Le'Veon to run the ball the way he does, very patiently. He has plenty of time. The guy Rosie is blocking is already on the ground. He is that type of guy. He does his job every single time."

Nix has no fear in taking on a linebacker, because he knows that mindset. He played defensive end at Kent State, and when he originally signed a reserve/futures contract with the Steelers in 2015, it was to play linebacker.

"He doesn't care," said Foster. "In his business, what he does. To be one of the best, that is how you to treat it. It's all for the greater good."

Before Nix had a chance to get comfortable at linebacker, another position change came about. The Steelers needed a fullback in his rookie minicamp, and Nix made the change. After only doing it for a short stint when he first came into the league with Atlanta, and it not working out, he was a bit concerned but he never hesitated. He just kept that same mindset, and still has it today.

"It's football, everybody hits," said Nix. "Everybody gets ready in their own way. I play a position where I hit people or they hit me. I don't want to get hit, so I bring it before they do."

Nix has taken his hits during his NFL career, as his path wasn't an easy one. In 2014 he was a rookie free agent trying to catch on with the Falcons as a fullback, a position he never played before. The Falcons were the team featured that season on HBO's Hard Knocks, following every step of what a team goes through. That included being there when Nix went into Coach Mike Smith's office and was told he was being waived.

Getting released left Nix in doubt of what his future would be. Nix looked at options outside of football. First, was the Columbus Police Academy, something he thought might provide a solid future, but wasn't the right path. He was close to playing in the Arena League with the Cleveland Gladiators, but never did. He spent time as a teaching assistant at his alma mater, Reynoldsburg High School, keeping students on the right path while he too stayed on it. 

"His background, a defensive player, he spent a year substitute teacher," said Villanueva. "Then he is playing fullback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, that is very special. Then he makes the roster the first year, and we started putting in plays for him.

"His play, his professional approach is something we appreciate. What makes it more special is his personality, the way he fits in with the group. Now he is such a presence in the locker room. He jokes non-stop. He is Ramon's day one. He is an overall great guy."

Nix is one of those players that when you are around him, his energy and enthusiasm is contagious. His personality, it's unique, entertaining, and something that has endeared him to all. But it's his play, his consistent blocking, his doing everything he can for his team, that has truly made an impact.

"He is special," said Maurkice Pouncey. "He plays his butt off. He goes out there and makes a lot of plays on special teams and offense. When a guy does that, you respect the heck out of him. He played d-line in college, so he really is a lineman. Don't let the fullback skill thing fool you.

"It's unbelievable. The guy blocks on punts, makes tackles on the kickoff team and the punt team, comes in there and blocks the mic linebacker. He is a real key part of our offense. We can't say enough about him."

Well, maybe there is one more thing that can be said, and it's truly the ultimate compliment.

"He is the best," said Villanueva. "If somebody was going to embody what it's like to be a Steelers' player, the quiet, professional, gets his job done approach, and has fun doing it, it's Roosevelt Nix."

You can vote for Nix and his teammates for the 2018 Pro Bowl by clicking below.

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