Roberts fulfills dream of playing for Tomlin

Becoming a member of the Steelers has been something linebacker Elandon Roberts has thought about for a long time.

In fact, the eighth-year linebacker remembers Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin being at his pro day at the University of Houston and having a conversation with him then about the possibility.

"I've always admired coach Mike," Roberts said Monday as he was announced as the newest member of the Steelers after signing a two-year deal.

"I told him at my pro day seven years ago, 'Come get me.' As soon as we talked, I told him, 'Man, it's been seven years, huh?' God has his time for everything. I'm just ecstatic to be part of the organization."

It took some time, but Roberts finally got his wish.

And in the veteran linebacker, the Steelers get someone with a wealth of experience – including playing in three Super Bowls and winning two as a member of the New England Patriots, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

That experience early in his career has helped shape who Roberts is now.

"Getting to Super Bowls early, you understand that it isn't easy," Roberts said. "There's a lot that goes into that. Being a younger guy, watching those (older) guys, you see it's a big honor to get back to that. I think that's with everyone in the league."

Roberts spent the past two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, recording 190 tackles and 5.5 sacks and an interception.

He joins a Steelers' linebackers room that has seen an overhaul since the end of the 2022 season. Robert Spillane and Devin Bush both signed elsewhere in free agency, while Myles Jack, who led the team in tackles last season, was released last week. That means Roberts joins veteran Cole Holcomb, signed in free agency last week from the Washington Commanders, and 2022 sixth-round pick Mark Robinson as the Steelers' inside linebackers.

The team also has a new inside linebackers coach in Aaron Curry.

In Roberts, the Steelers are getting a linebacker who knows how to play one way.

"I don't feel like it's any secret. I'm a physical linebacker," Roberts said. "That's just me. Going into my eighth year, I think people know I'm a physical, downhill guy who likes to hit. I feel Pittsburgh's style fits me."

In his career, Roberts has appeared in 107 games, with 76 of those being starts. He has recorded 457 tackles with 11 sacks and an interception with 39 tackles for a loss.

Oh, and he also saw some time at fullback in a pinch. His lone career reception in 2019 went for a 38-yard touchdown catch.

"It kind of came about because we had lost all of our fullbacks. Me, I'm the type of guy who would do anything for the team. I'm a team-first guy," Roberts said. "That role just came about trying to help my team. We have fullbacks on the roster here. I don't look to play fullback, but if my coaches need me due to whatever, I'm always going to do whatever to help the team win. But I think that's on the back burner for me."

• Dale Lolley is co-host of "SNR Drive" on Steelers Nation Radio. Subscribe to the podcast here: Apple Podcast | iHeart Podcast

On the front burner is learning the defense – in its entirety.

Roberts likes to know what everyone around him is doing so he can better do his job.

"Offenses these days are doing a lot of things, shifts, motioning, you can always end up on a certain side," Roberts said. "I would like to learn it all. I've done that my whole career."

That should endear him to his new teammates and coaches.

At this point, that's what he wants to do. He wants to be part of something he's dreamed about for a long time.

"I've always admired the organization. I've always admired how they operated," Roberts said of the Steelers. "I've always heard good things about Coach Mike.

"I've always said to myself and my wife, if I had the opportunity, it would be hard to pull me from that one. God don't make mistakes. I joked with coach Mike, the GM (Omar Khan) and assistant GM (Andy Weidl) that it took seven years. But the timing is right on. I'm excited for the opportunity. I'm excited to be a Pittsburgh Steeler."