Atlanta Falcons returner extraordinaire Andre Roberts signed a 1 year, $1.8 million contract last offseason. He returned two punts for touchdowns as a Detroit Lion in 2016, and we hoped he’d find similar success in Atlanta. Instead Roberts was just ... average. (His yards/punt return took a dip, he committed some costly penalties, and his yards/kick return held steady.) Admittedly Falcons special teams wasn’t all that special this season, so we can’t ask Roberts to shoulder all of the blame.
Setting aside what Roberts did on the field for a moment, his contributions off the field were truly remarkable. Roberts’ parents are veterans, and he attended The Citadel as an undergraduate. Roberts puts a lot of time and energy into programs benefiting both active duty military and veterans. That made him an excellent candidate for the Salute to Service Award. Dan Quinn won it last year. And Roberts is now this year’s recipient.
Roberts has made multiple visits to local VA hospitals, spent a day fishing with veterans at “Fishing with the Falcons,” and selected the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors as his organization for the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” program [...] Roberts also has an offseason travel schedule that takes him to military bases across the nation.
Roberts is set to become a free agent, and it’s unlikely the Falcons will re-sign him. It’s still nice to see the award stay within the organization.