Deke: Willie Roaf one of the greatest NFL linemen ever
by Deke Bellavia,posted Jan 27 2012 10:09AM
Legendary Saints offensive tackle Willie Roaf joined Bobby and me on the eve of his possible induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame to talk about his amazing career and the much-deserved honor.
One of the biggest things to remember about Willie is that he went from one place to the other, and not only continued his level of success, but he stepped UP his game. Often, you'll see situations where guys will leave a team after several years, and be on the backside of their careers. Not Willie! He elevated his game, and continued to play in Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl.
Willie also told us that he was proud of the fact that he was able to play at the highest levels in both the NFC and AFC in every environment during his years with the Saints and Chiefs.
"I'm proud that I was able to play indoors on a fast track in different environments...And then I was able to go outside in a totally different environment in the AFC and play on grass, and dealing with the weather conditions," Roaf said. "And it was a lot of fun playing outdoors, and ending your career on that grass, and playing a lot of teams on grass. It was good to do it the AFC and NFC and play at a high level."
Willie also talked about this upcoming weekend's activities. Roaf was nominated last year but did not make the cut, but he feels his chances are better the second time around.
"I'm like, here we go again. I think this year I have a better chance to get in with the class," he told us. "Right now I'm going to be in California waiting, and if I get in, my Dad will be flying in from Little Rock Sunday morning. We'll have to wait to watch the show on the NFL Network like everyone else."
And Bobby and I agree that he's got a much better chance of getting into the Hall this year. I personally think that Willie is a first-round Hall of Famer...it's was just the company he was in with that class last year. Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, all those guys. That may have been one of the greatest classes ever to come along for nomination into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And, the "glamor" positions like QB and running back tend to get way more ink than the linemen do.
Willie Roaf is one of the greatest linemen not only ever to play for the Saints, but to play in the NFL, period. I would be very surprised if he's not standing there at the coin toss of the Super Bowl a week from this Sunday.