Willie Roaf – One of the Greatest Left Tackles in NFL History
Willie Roaf was one of the greatest left tackles ever to play the position for both Saints and Chiefs during his illustrious career, being honored with induction into both organizations’ Pro Football Halls of Fames and as one of the greatest left tackles ever seen in action.
Undersized lineman from Pine Bluff, Arkansas received no offers from Power 5 schools but went to Louisiana Tech where he quickly rose from being an unknown prospect to being selected eighth overall in 1993 draft. He eventually spent thirteen seasons with both Saints and Chiefs teams as a star player.
Early Life and Education
Willie Roaf stands as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history and was one of their most successful players throughout their history with New Orleans Saints.
His family was filled with scholars and achievers; his mother, Andree Layton Roaf, graduated second in her law school class before going on to be appointed the first black woman justice on Arkansas Supreme Court.
Roaf was honored with All-South Independent Conference honors two times and earned All-American accolades during 1992, helping lead his Bulldogs team to the Independence Bowl that year. Furthermore, as a senior, Roaf earned finalist consideration for Outland Trophy as well as invitations to both Hula Bowl and East-West Shrine game competitions.
After an outstanding career at Louisiana Tech, Roaf was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round, eight overall, for their draft. He quickly made an impression as starting right tackle for them and earned All-Rookie honors as soon as his rookie campaign concluded.
He spent 13 seasons playing for both the Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, garnering 13 Pro Bowl selections during this timeframe as well as being named to both the 1990s All-Decade Team and 2000s All-Decade Team by his peers in NFL.
Roaf now lives in Gulfport, Mississippi with his wife Angela Hernandez Roaf and is proud to be a grandfather to Elijah and Grace – two grandchildren whom he still misses terribly; to help compensate he keeps active through outdoor exercise as well as visits to his gym as well as Frame Your Game which makes patented license plate frames in the shape of football helmets and baseball caps.
Achievement and Honors
Following his stellar college career at Louisiana Tech, Roaf was selected eighth overall in 1993’s NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints and quickly established himself as one of the greatest offensive linemen ever to grace NFL competition, starting 189 games and being selected seven times to Pro Bowls; two-time All-Pro and an Arkansas Black Hall of Fame inductee as well.
Roaf credits his Tech coaches with seeing something special in him; they were correct: He was an intimidating presence when it came to engulfing defenders and protecting his quarterback. Even during one highly anticipated college football matchup against Alabama All-American defensive end Eric Curry of Alabama All-America defensive end fame in 1992, Roaf held his own by allowing no sacks and one tackle; that year he earned unanimous All-American status and finalist consideration for Outland Trophy consideration.
Roaf is an enthusiastic New Orleans Saints supporter and avidly follows their games; he says that he feels very proud that he played for them and now lives there with his wife Angela Hernandez and three children; including Carrington who will soon attend LSU University.
He retired after nine seasons with the Saints and four with Kansas City Chiefs. Over his career, he was honored with 11 Pro Bowl selections – equaling Cincinnati T Anthony Munoz’s total and Baltimore’s Jonathan Ogden’s as the most Pro Bowls awarded to an offensive tackle ever.
Roaf was known for his superior blocking ability, earning praise from coaches as well as opponents like Hall-of-Famer Reggie White (Hall of Fame linebacker) after an eventful charity basketball game where Reggie told Roaf he shut him down.
He is honored with inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame as an offensive tackle, has his own foundation, and supports various charities.
His retirement experience has been overall positive and business is flourishing well. Although he has experienced some post-career back, knee, and meniscus problems – nothing too severe has surfaced yet.
He owns several properties across the country and is a regular guest on ESPN’s NFL Live program. Involved with several charities including Saints Hall of Fame Foundation which assists children, he also enjoys golf and is an ardent fan of New Orleans Saints (he was even named to their All-Decade First Team during 1990s and 2000s).