The fact that the term “fullback” is still around the game of football is somewhat surprising. With all of the spread offenses and single-back attacks in the college and NFL ranks the fullback has become a bit of an “endangered species.”
While the Pittsburgh Steelers have always had a fullback on the roster, they now have a guy who is not redefining his position but rather, he’s redefining his importance as a member of the 53-man roster. Roosevelt Nix looks like a traditional fullback. He has massive shoulder pads and a neck roll that make him look as though he’s a comic book character at times.
But this hero is doing a lot more than just leading the way for Le’Veon Bell and now DeAngelo Williams. He’s become one of the Steelers’ most important players on special teams and he proved it again yesterday in the win over Oakland. Following the Steelers’ go-ahead touchdown, Nix raced downfield and made a perfect, form tackle of the return man.
With his head ‘biting the ball’ and his arms wrapping around the runner, the impact jarred the ball loose where rookie linebacker Anthony Chickillo then pounced on it. The Steelers quickly put another score on the board and while they’d eventually need a Chris Boswell field goal to win it, Nix’s play made it possible.
Nix’s story is actually one that any Steelers’ fan can proud to learn about. A four-time all-Mid-American Conference defensive end, Nix was told from day one he was too small to play that position in the NFL. Nix didn’t allow that deter his dreams of playing pro football though.
Making the switch to fullback has seemed like a natural transition for him but it’s been helped by that defensive player’s mentality. That frame of mind has also benefited him greatly on special teams where besides the forced fumble yesterday, he had a blocked punt in the preseason and nearly blocked one yesterday that Bud Dupree ultimately got a piece of.
Through nine games Nix has eight tackles which is pretty impressive for a hulking fullback who runs down the field to make tackles. For Nix however this seems to be what he dreamed of and you can see it every time he takes the field. How long will his ride last? I don’t know but I’m enjoying it and I know many other Steelers’ fans are too.
photo courtesy goingdeepsteelers.com