In his four years with the Broncos, cornerback Bradley Roby has seen a lot. From his first snaps in 2014, Roby has been a key contributor as the team's third cornerback, and with him, the defense's secondary has become one of the most intimidating units in the NFL. He helped them bring home the Lombardi Trophy to prove it. As he's settled in with the Broncos, he's also settled down in Denver, and he recently sat down with us to talk about his childhood, his dog, the movies he likes and much more.
Ben Swanson: Growing up friends with one of Steve Atwater's sons, what did you learn about the NFL life, or post-NFL life?
Bradley Roby: It looked nice. It was one of the biggest houses I'd ever been in. They had a great family — still have a great family — so it was kind of like … living in an episode of "The Cosby Show." They had the little girl, the brother that rough around a lot, loving parents, great mom who cooks, great food. I just loved going to their house all the time. Just being a from single[-parent] family home, it was good to see that.
BS: Now that Steve's been around the Broncos more this year, has he been able to be a sounding board for questions and advice for you?
BR: Definitely. More so just someone I can talk to about things that are going on, or somebody that can relate to what I'm going through. Him being an all-time great here, it's just even better because he's going to give me the right advice: how I should act, how I should move. He's a great ally to have.
BS: As an adult now, what kind of perspective or understanding have you gained about what your mother was able to do as a single parent?**
BR:Just being older makes me respect my mom even more, because when you're younger and you have a single parent, your mom's yelling at you, always on you, and you're kind of like, "Man, I hate this person!" But when you get older, you see that a lot of moms don't even care about their kids. They'll leave their kids with whoever and not really teach them and look after them and make sure they grow into a respectable person. But my mom did that for me. So getting older just makes me respect her even more.
BS: I saw you have a dog.
BR:Yeah! Young Nino.
BS: What have you enjoyed about having a dog?
BR:He's like my son. He really feels like more than a dog to me. He's funny. He has funny characteristics, a funny personality, I would say. He has a lot of energy, very energetic. But it takes a lot to take care of a dog. You have to feed them and take them on walks, make sure they're not tearing nothing up, clean up their [waste]. It's kind of like practice for having a kid. Even with my busy schedule, I always love coming home and him waiting for me at the door. Good or bad, he's going to love me.
BS: What's he like when you come home really late after a road trip when it's about 3 or 4 a.m.?
BR:He meets me right at the door. He's super happy, tail wagging all crazy, jumping all in my face, jumping in my lap. That's why I just love having a dog, because that loyalty is real.
BS: You said having a dog is like practice for having a child. Is fatherhood something you're looking forward to?
BR:Definitely. I want to have a big family. I feel like that's the purpose of us being here. All of us [are here] to ... evolve the human race. I can't wait to just teach my kids things that I know, what I've been taught and just have some better people out there in the world. I look forward to that time in my life.
BS: You've said that you really enjoy movies like "Inception," movies that make you think. Have you been able to add any to that list recently?
BR:I liked "Passengers." It was a movie about, basically, in the future humans are going to have to leave Earth and they have to find other planets to live on. Some people started to volunteer to freeze their bodies and get on a space ship or whatever and go to a new planet, and they're going to unfreeze and they're going to colonize the planet. And basically the trip takes 90 years to get there. One guy wakes up during the trip. Something goes wrong with the machine and he wakes up. He tries to get back in it and go to sleep, but he can't go back to sleep. So he's stuck on the ship for 90 years by himself. And then he gets messed up because he looks through all the people that are there and finds a gorgeous girl, and he wakes her up. So she thinks that they're just, like, "Dang, this is messed up. We're here for 90 years." She basically comes to realize that he woke her up. So he, in essence, killed her, because they're going to be dead by the time the ship arrives. It's just a crazy concept. That's probably one of the last movies where I was just like, "Wow, this is crazy."
BS: You said that as a kid you really wanted to be like Jerry Rice, so you clearly have an appreciation for what wide receivers do, and I'm sure that continues now as you study them every day. Today, who do you like to watch?
BR:I like to watch Antonio Brown, I like to watch Odell [Beckham Jr.], Julio [Jones]. Those are the kind of guys I like to watch because A.B. and Odell, when they get the ball in their hands, they just go crazy. I like receivers that when they get the ball, they're going to take it the distance. I like watching Tyreek Hill. I don't like playing against him, but I definitely like watching him, because he's just explosive. The NFL hasn't really seen too many guys like him. And when they come around, it's always like a big splash. And Julio, he's just a monster. He's as quick as the small receivers, and he's just as big as the big receivers. He's virtually unstoppable out there.
BS: And who do you like to play against?
BR:All those guys. You've got to want to go against the best, because that's when you really see how good you are. In this game, you want to be the best you can be. You want to get the most out of your talent, so I love going against guys like that, guys like A.J. Green. He got me a couple weeks ago, but it was a battle. It was a couple plays where I had him and he had me, so I kind of liked that competition. It brings the best out of me.
BS: Your first few years here have been pretty stellar. This year has been unfortunate, but what kind of perspective has this given you?
BR:It just shows me that this game is forever changing. It's always evolving, just like life, just like us as people. We're always changing and evolving, and so is football. I'm seeing that you could be at the top one year and then at the very bottom next year, because the game changes and you've got to change with it. It's a humbling game. I've had my ups and downs, and I've learned that I've been able to self-assess when I don't do well, how I've been acting or what I've been doing or where I've been spending my time and my focus, or how I have been training in the offseason. I've basically seen what works and what doesn't. And as a pro, you've got to figure out what works, because if not, they're going to get you out of here. It's been a rocky road, but I've loved being here in Denver. It's a great city with great fans, great organization. So we'll get it back going.