Brett Romberg finds role on Falcons sidelines

As the Atlanta Falcons prepared to kick off to the Detroit Lions, Tecumseh's Brett Romberg stood on the Ford Field sideline amidst his teammates, decked out in a black Falcons golf shirt and matching pants.

It's not the position he'd hoped for on his first chance to play an NFL game in Detroit.

Nonetheless, he was much closer to the action than a year ago.

"It was something that was totally unexpected," Romberg, 32, said of the late-August call he got from the Falcons, gauging his interest on returning to the team he'd last played for in 2009.

Unexpected and unlikely.

"I'd kind of moved on with my life a little bit," Romberg said after the Falcons dropped the Lions 23-16 Sunday. "I started a hedge fund with a buddy back in Miami. I was more focused on my second career, as opposed to getting back into the NFL.

"Luckily, things aligned, I got a phone call, and the rest is history."

So certain was the sixfoot-two, 293-pound centre, a seven-year NFL veteran, that his gridiron days were done that Romberg admitted if any other team came calling, he would have likely declined the offer.

"I don't know if the opportunity had arose with another organization, whether I would have jumped on it," Romberg said. "I don't think I would have taken it."

The Falcons, though, were a perfect fit.

They were looking for a veteran guy who knew their offence, was a good fit with their coaches and players, and who wouldn't ruffle feathers if he didn't see much game action.

"It was an easy transition on both sides," Romberg said. "I like the guys here quite a bit. I have a great relationship with them, coaches included. And being able to miss a whole training camp and come in and be on the team was pretty nice.

"There was basically no negatives."

Some sacrifice was involved, however. Romberg was supposed to stand up for his brother Bradley's wedding two weeks ago in Windsor.
"I had the (Falcons) video guys help me out with my best man's speech," Romberg said.

"I sent it up there with my wife (Emily).

"It would have been better to be there in person, but I did what I could."

Romberg's junior team, the Windsor AKO Fratmen, with whom he was named the CJFL's top offensive lineman in 1997, shelved a plan to retire his No. 65 jersey until at least next year.

"There's a lot of things you sacrifice, but this is a great opportunity," he said. "It's hard enough getting in the NFL once.

Getting in there twice is nothing short of a miracle."

Week to week, his role changes. Two weeks ago against Green Bay, Romberg subbed for injured guard Garrett Reynolds.

Sunday, he sought to help any way he could from his sideline perch.

"It's all about understanding the role that you have on Sunday," Romberg said.

"Whether it had been a couple of weeks ago, I had to jump in there against Green Bay, or this week, where it's looking at numbers, identifying blitzes, communicating with the coaches, telling the guys what I'm seeing from the side.

"You try to stay in the foot-ball game, help out as much as you can.

"You get anxious, you want to be out there, but you do what you can."

For a veteran, it's certainly not an easy role to fill.

"I love playing football," Romberg said. "I don't like watching it too much."

Regardless, compared to Romberg's vantage point last season - his living room - he'll definitely take the viewing upgrade.

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus