Charles Roberts - Running Back - Sacramento State - 2001-08
Charles Roberts had a great nickname ‘Blink”. Roberts was a 5’6” dynamo out of Sacramento State who arrived in Winnipeg in 2001 as a whirling dervish of excitement. He averaged an incredible 7.7 yards per carry his rookie season with over 800 yards rushing. He would add to that terrific totals as the team’s primary kick and punt return man that included 2 punt return touchdowns.
Teaming with hulking fullback Mike Sellers in 2002 and 2002, Roberts would seemingly disappear behind the 240 lb Sellers and re-appear 40 yards downfield celebrating a touchdown – it was a dynamic combination. Sellers would return to the NFL in 2004 but that didn’t stop Roberts. He would lead the league in rushing in 2004, 05, and ’06 and in every season had over 1,500 yards rushing. It was the most productive streak by a running back in team history. From 2001 to 2007 he would top 1,000 yards rushing as well as posting strong receiving totals.
A prickly character off the field on occasion with the media, Roberts produced on the field. In 2006, Winnipeg brought in NFL cast-off Onterrio Smith to compete with Roberts for the starting tailback position. Greatly offended by the move, Roberts quickly dispatched of the competition and went on to have one of his best seasons ever with 1,609 yards rushing.
The California native was a 5-time all-star and the Eastern divisions Most Outstanding Player in 2006. Along with receiver Milt Stegall; Charles Roberts was Blue Bomber football in the 2000’s.
2 Grey Cup appearances in 2001 and 2007 would end in defeat for Winnipeg and Roberts. During the 2007 season on September 2nd he surpassed Leo Lewis as the leading rusher in franchise history. Following a disappointing start to the 2008 season Roberts was traded to B.C. for an equally underachieving back in Joe Smith. It would be his final season as a professional.
Charles Roberts was as exciting a running back as the CFL has ever seen. He delighted football fans for 8 seasons with his speed and ability.
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