There is one in every kindergarten class. That one kid who would rather eat paste than use it to glue the pieces of macaroni to the paper in the shape of a turkey so his parents could stick it on the fridge proudly for the whole family to admire for Thanksgiving. "Little Timmy is so talented the other kids call him Elmer", his parents joyously proclaim, not realizing the nickname was short for Elmer's Glue. I always wondered if that nickname stuck with him his whole life.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have their own glue guy, and his name is Roosevelt 'Rosie' Nix. As the starting fullback for the Steelers powerful offense, Nix is often left standing on the sidelines for large portions of the Steelers offensive snaps, but he always finds a way to make his presence felt.
A fullback gets paid to have violent, full speed collisions with other individuals. Not a job for the faint of heart. Rosie does his job better than most, seeing how he represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl last season. He displays a certain zest for his job. He understands the leverage required to move an opponent, many larger than himself, in a direction against their will. His high school wrestling background undoubtedly proves invaluable in this endeavor. The running backs for whom he has lead the way may have changed, but their production has not, in no small way the result of his blocking prowess.
A exceptional fullback has to display incredible versatility, and that description fits Rosie Nix quite well. He is, all at the same time, a mini offensive lineman, a short yardage back, a QB protector, and a H back out of the backfield. He is also outstanding on special teams because of his all out effort and determination. It would be impossible to tell Nix's story without mentioning his unbelievable determination and perseverance.
Rosie doesn't even stand six feet tall but he was an all conference player for Kent State as a defensive lineman. Realizing the need for undersized defensive lineman in the NFL is miniscule, Rosie lost almost twenty pounds after graduation and worked out as a linebacker at his pro day. After predictably going undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft, Nix signed as a UDFA with the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons asked him to switch positions yet again, this time to fullback. Nix agreed, hoping it would give him a better chance to make the team. Sadly, he was released before the start of the season.
Undeterred, Nix even looked into the Arena League in hopes of keeping his professional football dreams alive. Then in January 2015 his persistence finally paid off and fate intervened. He signed a reserve/futures contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a inside linebacker, but was quickly moved to fullback again. He didn't care, he was determined to take advantage of this opportunity. He initially excelled on special teams, before earning the starting fullback position. Now he is performing at a Pro Bowl level at both.
While Rosie Nix is no where near the most talented player on the Steelers offense, he is no doubt one of the most well respected by his teammates. They all know his story and realize how he sacrifices his body on the field each week so they can revel in the glory. You will see them acknowledge his contributions with a pat on the back or a slap of the helmet, and it seems extra special for all involved when they get to celebrate a touchdown or big play with him. In a league were most of the participants were being told how great they were by the eighth grade, Rosie Nix refused to take no for an answer.
It is a blessing to have so many superstar players like the Steelers possess, but it takes a well respected glue guy to help mesh all the eccentric personalities together and keep everyone focused and humble. That is the kind of young man we can all be happy to root for, and young people can look up to as a role model.
Rosie Nix is the definition of a glue guy.