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Elandon Roberts is a perfect example of the value Mike Tomlin brings to the Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers head coach brings more to the team than just his coaching resume.

Minnesota Vikings v Miami Dolphins Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had three head coaches since 1969, and any black-and-gold fan knows that. However, while consistency is what the organization has prided itself on for decades, many fans find certain aspects of the current head coach, Mike Tomlin, to be frustrating.

For the most part, the frustration surrounding Tomlin’s tenure as a coach has been his inability to steer the team back to the promised land. The Steelers haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 2010, and that fact sticks with the fans to the point where many wonder why the team sticks with Tomlin as their head coach.

While the fact the team hasn’t been considered a serious contender for a championship in recent years isn’t breaking news, it is also important to note Tomlin brings more to the team than most fans want to, or are willing to, admit.

One of those areas where Tomlin excels is his unique ability to both connect with, and understand, the players he interacts with. Notice I said interacts with, and not the players who are necessarily a part of the Steelers organization.

As an example, Tomlin’s interactions with prospective players has been on display more and more every year as events like the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine become more visible to the general public. Fans see Tomlin rubbing shoulders with Justin Fields and wonder, “Why would he even waste his time? Fields won’t be there when the Steelers pick!”

Tomlin knows this, but he also knows the business that is the NFL. If a player like Fields were to fall out of favor in Chicago, Tomlin very well could be a guy who has a connection with the former Ohio State quarterback and brings him in as a free agent.

Already this offseason you’ve heard players like Patrick Peterson talk about the long-time connection with Tomlin dating back to his time with LSU, and how it played a role in him wanting to come to Pittsburgh when the offer was presented.

Well, you can add Elandon Roberts to that growing list of players who had a lasting impact with Tomlin at some point during his career.

“I’ve always admired coach Mike,” Roberts told Dale Lolley of Monday as he signed his new two-year contract with the organization.

“I told him at my pro day seven years ago, ‘Come get me.’” Roberts recalled. “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 wasn’t just Tomlin’s lasting impact which resulted in Roberts wanting to join the Steelers as a free agent. The Steelers as an organization also played a role.

“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 doesn’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.”

As for what Roberts brings to the organization, it is a wealth of experience, which also includes the ever-valuable Super Bowl experience.

“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.”

What can fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers expect from Roberts as a player on the field? Well, if his play matches his description, he’ll fit in just fine with the fan base.

“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.”

One aspect of Roberts’ game which might go unnoticed is the fact he actually has played fullback during his career. Has he played the position extensively? No, but if the name of the game is “the more you can do” don’t think this fact isn’t a proverbial feather in his cap when bringing versatility to the table. How did it all come about? Try out of necessity.

“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.”

Roberts is a team-first guy who has a wealth of experience which he can impart of players to help them hopefully realize those same goals. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they press on throughout the 2023 NFL offseason.