By Jim Gehman, Player Engagement Insider
It isn’t possible for Oakland Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts to play in the NFL and be much farther away from his hometown of Moultrie, Georgia. Nevertheless, it’s never far from his thoughts.
Each offseason, he makes the cross-country trip back to the southeast where he’ll spend a week or so in Moultrie, and where his parents now live in Tallahassee, Florida. The timing worked out this year to where he could take part in Moultrie’s annual Community Day on July 1.
“I remember going to Community Day with all my friends that I grew up with and going to the gym and playing basketball like they (did this year), a five-on-five tournament,” Roberts said. “And I remember just running around the park with all of my cousins and friends. Just having fun with no worries.”
Roberts was worry-free again this year. “At this year’s event, I passed out NFLPA Fortune 500 t-shirts. I gave out like 600 shirts,” he said. “My family cooked for the whole community, like 10 cases of chicken. We got some ice cream donated from a company. It was awesome.”
He also took the opportunity to sign autographs, take photos with and just talk with the kids who were there. Roberts realizes they look at him as a role model. He is, after all, a person who was in their shoes not too long ago and is now successfully playing in the NFL.
“The situation that they’re in; they’re trying to make it out,” Roberts said. “The football program in the school system is really good. I have a young cousin, Quez, he has all the talent. I think he’s going to be starting as a freshman on varsity as a linebacker. He texted me a couple days ago and told me, ‘I really look up to you, Cuz. I want to be where you are.’ So, I’ve got to stay at it and keep doing what I’m doing.”
Roberts shared the same advice with his cousin and the others that he received as a kid.
“Stay down,” he said. “Stay down means don’t depend on nobody. Keep your head straight and look forward. There are going to be distractions and stuff, but don’t worry about that. This is what I go by, ignore the noise and trust the process. That’s it.”
Undrafted coming out of West Alabama in 2014, any possibility Roberts had of playing in the NFL was through free agency.
“I really thought I was going to Seattle,” Roberts said. “They showed the most interest and made it seem like I could be there. But I’m thankful to be where I am right now. Making it through the rookie mini-camp and OTAs and mandatory mini-camps and training camps. I’m just so thankful for it to be like that. It could be worse and it could be better, but I’m not complaining.”
On the active roster the past two seasons, the complaint-free Roberts has started in 11 games, hauling in 70 receptions for 877 yards, a 12.5 yards-per-catch average, and scored 10 touchdowns. What make his most proud of his young career so far?
“I feel it’s having a strong mindset,” Roberts said. “My biggest thing is being consistent. I think that’s the whole world with every person. I just want to learn how to be consistent and just do it day in and day out on this level.”
Two years ago, Roberts became an NFL player. Eight months ago, he became an NFL Dad.
“The best thing about being Seth Roberts today is I have a family. I’m a new dad. My daughter, Zoe, she’s the world to me. Football is football. I love football and football’s going to be there and I’m going to make it happen in football, but I’m happy right now. I’m enjoying myself and am really looking forward to the future and the things that are coming up.”