Tim Roberts doesn’t fear adversity.
Because of that trait, the Hahnville High School alumnus continues to get ever closer to his dream of playing in the NFL— and has already accomplished so much on the way.
The recent star defensive back for the University of Buffalo was one of the invitees to the Washington Redskins recent rookie camp, and though Roberts was ultimately cut, he now has a taste of the career he’s wanted for so long.
“It’s been a journey,” Roberts mused, “and it’s ain’t over yet. I’ll definitely tell you that.”
At Buffalo, Roberts turned heads as a junior and senior, becoming the team’s starting free safety almost instantly and going on to record 126 tackles over his two years. He earned several academic awards in addition to the highlights he created on the football field after earning a full scholarship to the school—Roberts is someone with a diverse set of paths and career options available to him.
But right now, he only sees one.
“People ask me what degree I have, now that the Redskins let me go, and what am I going to do now … dude, I’m still gonna pursue the NFL,” he said. “I’m young. This is my dream.
“Yes, I have a backup plan, but when you focus on that, you’re all but abandoning your first plan. I’m giving all my attention to my first plan, and no matter what way it goes, I know I’ll have no regrets.”
Roberts’ path to this point is a remarkable one. After standing out at Hahnville as a linebacker, he received no offers to play at the collegiate level. That was something that would have given many others the cue to walk away from the game.
For Roberts, it turned his competitive fire into raging inferno.
“It fueled me,” Roberts said. “I knew I was better than a lot of people who got offers. I knew I was good enough to play Division I football.”
Roberts found his next destination at Fullerton College in California, turning down other opportunities to attend the junior college.
“I had academic scholarship offers. My grades … I could have gone anywhere in the country. But I wanted to pursue my dreams,” Roberts said. “I just wanted to play football. I went and I stayed focused.”
He made waves almost immediately when he broke the school’s record for interceptions in a game with three, doing so against Grossmont on Oct. 25 of 2014 in a 40-22 Fullerton win. He did so despite being a fresh convert to the safety position from his linebacker role at HHS.
He didn’t receive an offer after his first year, but after year two, Buffalo called and Roberts had earned himself the opportunity to play Division I football.
The scholarship relieved financial distraction for Roberts.
“In California, I had no money. I was broke and had to provide for myself,” Roberts said. “At Buffalo, all I had to worry about was football and academics. So my grades excelled, my body excelled, and my on-field play excelled. I felt like I was so close and I just had to work and push to get to where I want to be.”
When he got to Redskins camp, he understood the opportunity before him, but also its scarcity: The Redskins invited 18 defensive backs to try out and 46 total players.
“You needed to do something really spectacular out there to even get noticed,” he said.
But at the same time, now tape of his performance at the camp is available to the Redskins and all other NFL teams. And Roberts also knows that when he hit the field, he played with confidence.
“I felt like I belonged,” he said. “You’d think you’d get out there and feel star struck. But to me it felt right. I had a dog-eat-dog mentality about everything, because ultimately I’m there to take a spot.”
Roberts said he’ll be ready when his next opportunity comes. He doesn’t know when it will be, but he is steadfast in the belief it will happen.
Nothing is guaranteed, of course. But that’s always been the case for Roberts, and he’s just fine with that.
“I’m comfortable being uncomfortable,” Roberts said. “I could have easily quit when I had no offers out of high school. I could have quit a number of times. I’m certainly not quitting now, after I’ve been through so much.
“People can think I’m done, but I’m not. I’m fighting.”