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Video: Elandon Roberts receives proclamation to start Heart Walk

Elandon Roberts’ third annual Heart Walk started differently from the first two. He received a proclamation from Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie on Saturday at his alma mater.

“Roberts is the definition of dedication and perseverance,” Bartie said in part, reading his declaration, “possessed with determination and the willingness to work hard, and he made his dream a reality.”

Hundreds took to the Memorial High School practice track and nearby blocks for an annual event that raises awareness of heart disease, which has touched Roberts’ family. Roberts, 25, a New England Patriots linebacker and former University of Houston Cougar, has played in the Super Bowl in each of his three professional seasons, winning two championship rings.

Participants gather for the start of the Elandon Roberts Heart Walk on Saturday morning at Memorial High School. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 7-13-19

“When you have an older grandma, grandpa pass away from heart disease, you don’t recognize the big meaning of it,” Roberts said.

“When my aunt passed away from it, it just really shook me and I wanted to get behind it and support it. Each year, when all these people come out here to do the walk, we’re teaching them the stuff to look out for with heart disease and stuff.”

The first Heart Walk was held at Memorial Stadium shortly after Roberts’ aunt died. Coming back each year to put on the event does not get old for the Patriots star.

“It feels great to be out here,” Roberts said. “When I come home, even though I live in [greater] Houston, I like to show my face in the community because at the end of the day, the community is going to be the ones who support you the most. So, I just show them that I’m still out here supporting them and giving back to the kids.”

Participants begin the Elandon Roberts Heart Walk on the Memorial HIgh School track Saturday morning. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 7-13-19

Participants begin the Elandon Roberts Heart Walk on the Memorial High School track Saturday morning. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 7-13-19

Roberts graduated from Memorial in 2012. As a senior, he helped the Titans reach the 6A Division II state semifinal — to this day their highest finish in school history.

Unlike in the past two years, the day didn’t end with just the last person finishing at the track. The newly installed football practice field hosted youngsters up to the eighth grade for a 2-hour football camp Roberts hosted.

Kids finish a defensive back drill with a sprint during Elandon Roberts’ football camp Saturday. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 7-13-19

ADDING A CAMP

Camp leaders included Canadian Football League Hall of Famer and Lincoln graduate Don Narcisse, recent Lamar cornerback/kick returner and Los Angeles Rams rookie Rodney Randle, 2018 Memorial graduate and Louisiana Tech redshirt freshman running back Elijah Hines and Houston Madison coach and Lincoln alumnus Shawn Narcisse.

Roberts’ father Eli was concerned earlier in the week that Tropical Storm Barry, which avoided impacting Texas, might hold off the event.

“We thought about it, and we were praying that the weather wouldn’t hit,” Eli Roberts said. “Of course, we were praying the weather wouldn’t hit anywhere. As you can see, it’s turned out to be great.”

All that the weather posed in Port Arthur on Saturday morning were heavy clouds with a brief sprinkle of rain.

An alternate plan, Eli Roberts said, would have been to cancel the walk and allow the kids into the Memorial gymnasiums for the camp.

‘HOPE FOR DIFFERENT’

Saturday’s activities were held a day after Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls issued an apology to Roberts for the actions off a deputy following a traffic stop at Roberts’ Richmond home on March 10, which included saying in a call for backup: “I haven’t even begun the traffic stop. The big, black man got out of the car. I told him to get back in and he wouldn’t comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard.”

USA Today on Thursday originally posted a story with video of the stop after Roberts said in a statement to the newspaper he felt he was harassed because of his race and size. Bartie mentioned the video before issuing the proclamation and commended Roberts for following the instructions of the deputy, identified as Adam Watkins.

“I’m proud of you, man, because you’re here today because you did the right thing,” Bartie told Roberts.

Said Roberts: “Seeing the video, you know, at the end of the day, you just have to … hope for different. It is what … you know.” He deferred other comment on the video to his statement.

Calvin Roberts of Port Arthur gets the little ones to clap it up before starting a drill Saturday. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 7-13-19

TOUCHDOWN DANCE COMING

Don Narcisse, who lives in Manvel, will ring the bell at a Houston-area hospital on Monday to wrap up treatment for prostate cancer, for which he was diagnosed in January 2018.

“I’m going to do my touchdown dance,” Narcisse, 54, said. “It’s unbelievable. But you know, the one thing is this — I’ve always been transparent with everybody, letting them know they need to go out and get their doctor’s appointments and stuff like that. By doing that, a lot of people helped me out.”

Narcisse said he’s been feeling about “60 percent” in recent weeks with the treatment, although the former Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver has taken on a stronger mentality.

“In my football mind, I’m always 100,” he said. “… It takes a lot out of you, but having the support from family and friends, that’s what lifts you up. That’s what it’s all about.”

Mark Roberts, left, cousin of New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts, talks with Los Angeles Rams cornerback/return specialist Rodney Randle before the start of Roberts’ camp Saturday at Memorial High School. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 7-13-19

MAKING THE CUT

Randle, a Beaumont native who signed with the Rams as a free agent, said he likes his chances of making the 53-man roster before the season opener at Carolina. Los Angeles is the defending NFC champion and lost to Roberts’ Patriots in Super Bowl 53.

Denver Broncos wide receiver and former Lamar cornerback Brendan Langley has given Randle insight into NFL life.

Langley was drafted in the third round in 2017.

“I’ve been having aspirations of going to the NFL since I was little, but he did show me the blueprint on how to get it done, and I followed that blueprint and now I’m in the league,” Randle said.

Randle could be on the roster when the Rams visit the Houston Texans in preseason action Aug. 29. The Rams host the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 17.

The Patriots will host the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 24 and visit the Texans on Dec. 1.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

 

 

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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