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Exclusive with Steelers Fullback Rosie Nix

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Steelers Now’s Ron Lippock spoke with Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix. Nix is entering his fifth season as the Steelers primary fullback, as well as being a top special teams contributor. Nix is a native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio — a suburb of Columbus — and is a Kent State alum.

First, how did the Rosie Nix Foundation start? What made you decide to launch that this year?

Well, I started it officially this year. I’ve been putting on camps for the past two years. This will be our third year. I always tried to give back. I felt the need to do that. I understand the need people have for that kind of help and support.

I really felt it was ready to go this year and be official. The sponsors wanted to be able to help out more and told us we should go bigger. So we went legal, started up the 501(c)(3). Like I said, we’ve been putting on the camp already for a couple of years so we filed the paperwork and are ready to go.

It’s Columbus-based. It’s an opportunity for me to give back and use this platform to show why it’s important to give back to people.

Do you think athletes get enough attention and credit for doing this kind of work? Not that you’re doing it for that reason, but still?

It’s 2019, the media is always looking for a story — positive or negative. If there’s not one, they’ll make one up. It is what it is. I’m not doing it for the attention. I’m doing it out of the kindness of my heart. It doesn’t matter if they talk about it. I do it because I want to. And I know the right people to talk to to publicize it and get the word out.

You came to Pittsburgh as a free agent. Why choose Pittsburgh? And was the transition to fullback from defensive player a difficult one to accept?

I didn’t really choose Pittsburgh. They were the only ones to work me out. I didn’t think about the change really. I knew it was the most likely way for me to make a team. It’s what I had to do so you just do it.

How did you make the adjustment so successfully?

My coach in Atlanta. It started there and he really took the time to teach me the position. He taught me to be a student of the game and that helped me out.

Does that chip and worry that comes with being an undrafted free agent ever leave you as a player? 

No player has the same story coming into the NFL, whether they’re a first round guy or an undrafted free agent. I’ve always played the game the same way. I’ve always played like this. So, if I play with a chip on my shoulder, that’s just part of my game. That’s how I’ve always been.

That seems to carry over to special teams. What makes you such a standout on special teams?

It has a lot to do with that defensive mindset. And my body type. I’m blessed with athletic ability — the speed I have combined with my body makeup.

You gotta have the mindset, too. That’s always been in my head. That’s how I came into the league. I knew I needed to excel on special teams and that’s never left me.

I wanted to ask you about your use of social media. You seem to stay above the fray on social media. How do you manage to do so and stay out of social media issues?

I just don’t care, to be honest. I use social media to benefit my foundation now. But other than that, I’ve gone off social media and if I want to, I can do it again. It just doesn’t mean that much to me. The comments and memes don’t matter to me.

Did you have any mentors that help shaped the way you’ve approached the game, on or off the field?

I think there’s something special in every person I know and I can find something in everyone to help me. They’ve been successful and there’s something I can take away from everyone who’s had success. I’m open to learning on and off the field. I try to learn from all of my experiences.

Now you’re becoming a mentor to young guys How do you approach that role as  a veteran player?

I just try to do everything in the right way. Set a good example for people so they can understand the right way to do things. That’s really it. It’s part of what we do every day.

Looking at your time in Pittsburgh so far, what experiences stand out most to you and why?

I think the thing I’ll remember most is how much I appreciate all of the guys I am teammates with every week. That’s the best part, those locker room conversations. Playing the game is special, but your teammates make it worthwhile.

Any specific memories stand out – any pranks?

Well, no one’s pranked me. But I remember someone filled DeAngelo Williams’ room full of balloons once. Stuff like that.

Any thoughts on the upcoming season? Personal goals you want to achieve?

The ultimate goal is to go back to work and bring home number seven. That would be great if we could get that done. A lot of people have counted us out. I’d love to be able to bring back number seven to Pittsburgh.

Ron Lippock is the author of Steelers Takeaways and has interviewed over 650 past and present Steelers players, coaches and personnel. You can purchase his book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Steelers-Takeaways-Memories-Through-Decades/dp/1681570076

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