In the National Football League, you hear rags-to-riches stories all the time, and you can now add Roosevelt Nix’s story to the growing list.
As I stated, these types of stories happen often within the football world, but Nix’s personal story certainly adds to the huge news of his new 4-year contract with the Steelers announced just over a week ago.
After being cut by the Atlanta Falcons, Nix turned to his alma mater in Columbus, OH to work with students as a substitute. He worked out at 4:30am before school to stay sharp in case another NFL organization called. After school he would workout again and head to his part-time gig as a bouncer at a club in Columbus. Nix even took the written part of the local police academy test to become a police officer.
“I was literally praying and hoping I didn’t need one,” Nix said. “I wasn’t planning on not being successful in football. At that point in time I was just looking for anything to stay afloat. To have it all in front of you and taken from me, it was a mad scramble to be successful any type of way. The schedule was tiring. Sometimes it made me wonder if anything would happen.”
Nix kept working, but no teams were calling.
“My agent’s trying to shop me and no one’s looking. It was like, ‘Damn, what are we doing?’” Nix said. “That was the most difficult part. Luckily, my friends and family were a huge support system for me.”
Then, after the 2015 season, the Steelers put a call into Nix’s agent and brought him in for a workout, which turned into a future/reserve contract with the team.
After dropping 30-pounds prior to the workout with Pittsburgh, Nix was informed by Mike Tomlin he would be playing fullback, the same position he occupied when cut by the Falcons. However, the former defensive tackle at Kent State felt this situation was different.
“Coach T saw something in me,” Nix said. “It was a great thing. I’m not sure what he knew.”
Fast forward a bit and Nix, who started as a big-play special teams guy, has turned into the lead blocker for the most dynamic running back in the league, Le’Veon Bell, was a reserve selection for the Pro Bowl and just inked a brand-new contract with the black-and-gold.
For many players the story doesn’t end this way. It ends with them barely able to make ends meet and trying to find their way through a life which used to revolve around the game of football. But for Nix, he stays humble, realizing how fortunate he truly is. In fact, instead of going out and getting a new fancy car, he chooses to drive the same used Ford Taurus he drove to his first training camp in Pittsburgh in 2015.
“Driving the same car I showed up to camp with,” Nix said.
Nix’s story is great, and his play on the field has equaled the feel-good nature of his story. Here is to hoping for many more great years for No. 45 for the Steelers.