At this stage of Courtney Roby’s career with the New Orleans Saints, his job description probably needs to be rewritten.
On paper, he is listed as a wide receiver/kick returner. And while he performs both duties well when pressed into action, his real value comes as the unquestioned captain for special teams coordinator Greg McMahon.
Arguably, no one does it better than Roby, which is why the Saints re-signed him to a one-year, $905,000 contract in March.
“I had visits set up in free agency,’’ said Roby, a third-round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2005 out of Indiana University. “I talked to different teams personally, and my agent was talking to teams as well. But once I was able to get everything squared away with New Orleans, once we reached common ground, it was definitely the place I wanted to be.
“When I sat back and evaluated everything, it was a no-brainer for me. I feel like we have a lot of unfinished business here. It’s a great organization, a great team, and when you have all those kinds of things, you really don’t want to leave that.’’
Roby, 30, likely will enter this season as he has the past few years in New Orleans — on the proverbial bubble, fighting for a roster spot. Although no depth chart is etched in stone on the eve of minicamp, which runs Tuesday through Thursday, Roby probably is viewed as the team’s sixth wide receiver, behind veterans Marques Colston and Lance Moore, 2012 phenom Joe Morgan, unproven Nick Toon and fifth-round pick Kenny Stills.
Roby’s best season as a receiver came during his rookie year with the Titans in 2005, when he caught 21 passes for 289 yards and a touchdown. Since joining the Saints at midseason in ’08, Roby has two catches for 15 yards.
In the return game, running backs Darren Sproles (punts) and Travaris Cadet (kickoffs) top the depth chart, though Roby has proved to be an effective kick returner. He averaged 27.5 yards and scored a touchdown during the Super Bowl XLIV season of 2009.
“Every year there’s a line in the story about me being on the bubble or whatever, but I don’t pay attention to that,’’ Roby said. “I leave that up to (the media) to speculate on that stuff. I just focus in on my job and do whatever I’m coached to do and whatever the team needs me to do. I take great pride in that. I just go out there, play hard, be reliable and take it one day at a time, year after year.’’
Naturally, Roby’s best chance to make the team comes on special teams. Regarded as a consummate team player, his teammates have voted him special teams captain the past two seasons.
“I play wide receiver as well, but special teams is my group, and that’s an honor I don’t take lightly,’’ he said. “It means a lot to me — I mean a lot — to have the respect of my peers and my coaches. I take great pride in my job.
“But it’s not just me on special teams. It’s not just Drew (Brees) on offense. It’s not just (Jonathan) Vilma or whoever on defense. We’re all in this together. It’s a family atmosphere, and that’s what this organization is all about. That’s why we’ve won so many games here in the past because we go out there and really fight for each other. As long as we continue to do that, the sky is the limit.’’
More specifically, Roby said winning another Super Bowl is an attainable goal.
“I know the group of guys that we have in that locker room, the kind of talent that we have in our locker room, the kind of coaches that we have here,’’ Roby said. “From top to bottom, this is a great place to be. This is a recipe for success.
“We all know our roles here, and we’re all willing to play those roles. When you have that kind of mindset, that’s when you get accustomed to winning. We don’t have people in that locker room who gripe and moan about their roles; that’s not what we are about here. That’s why I came back.’’
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