March 18, 2013

Saints Re-Sign Special Teamer Roby

The Saints have announced the re-signing of special teams ace Courtney Roby, a dedicated gunner on kick coverage teams and the Saints' special teams captain since 2012.

An unrestricted free agent, Roby tested the waters and has signed a one-year deal with the Saints.  He has signed a one-year contract with the Saints the past two offseasons.

Technically a wide receiver, Roby usually only plays offense during preseason.  The 6'0, 189 pound native of  Indianapolis has recorded two receptions in five seasons with the Saints, joining the team during the 2008 season.

Roby was originally a third round pick of the Titans in 2005 out of Indiana. A former high school quarterback, Roby never caught on in Tennessee, Cincinnati or Indianapolis but latched onto his role as a special teams ace in New Orleans.

Roby scored a touchdown in the 2012 regular season opener for the Saints when LB Martez Wilson blocked a Redskins punt, and Roby scooped up the ball and returned it four yards for a late first-half touchdown.  

Roby was the Saints' primary kickoff returner in 2009 and 2010, but gave up those duties to teammate and cousin RB Darren Sproles in 2011.  He has not returned a kickoff in the past two seasons.  Forced back into action as the kickoff returner in the Saints' 2011 playoff game in San Francisco, Roby muffed, recovered, then fumbled away a kickoff in that game.

In Super Bowl XLIV, Roby showed exactly why he is not only a valuable kick returner but an excellent gunner on punt coverage teams.  Roby was on the spot to stop Colts PR TJ Rushing for no gain on the Saints' first punt.  A few minutes later, Roby was on the spot to down a Thomas Morstead punt at the Colt 4 yard line. Roby also had a 34-yard kickoff return late in the first half that helped the Saints get a late field goal in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLIV.

Roby was knocked out of the Saints-Rams game in 2010 and hospitalized with a concussion.  Two months earlier, Roby had accidentally knocked out and hospitalized a sideline official during punt coverage.

Roby won the September 2010 NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award for his excellent punt return coverage, including a key fumble recovery on a muffed return in a regular season game at San Francisco.

UPDATE: Roby's base minimum one-year deal will pay him $905,000, though because of the league's veteran minimum rules, he will count only $550,000 against the cap.

NOPF News Archive