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'Little' Hebert Hopes to Come Up Big
By Nick Wagoner
As affable and relaxed a rookie as you’re going to find in any NFL camp this spring, undrafted rookie lineman T-Bob Hebert knows exactly what line of questioning he’s in for anytime a reporter steps to him with a microphone or voice recorder.
Not that Hebert minds but just to get it out of the way right now, let’s allow Hebert the floor to answer the two questions he hears most often, both pertaining to his name.
First, where does the T in T-Bob come from?
“T-Bob actually stands for ‘Petite Bobby’ because my real name is Bobby Joseph Hebert III,” Hebert said. “In Cajun tradition, you can just call whatever the name is as T-Doug or T-Mel so ironically enough you can just call it Petite Bobby.”
The irony, of course, lies in the fact that Hebert checks in at a sturdy 6’3, 304 pounds and there is really nothing petite about him be it his physical stature or his personality.
With that cleared up, the attention generally shifts to the other part of his name, his last name. If the Hebert name doesn’t ring a bell, well, you probably missed out on one of the more colorful characters to come through the NFL in the past couple of decades.
Hebert is the son of Bobby Hebert, the popular former quarterback of the New Orleans Saints in the 90s. The elder Hebert serves as T-Bob’s friend and mentor but puts no undue pressure on his son, who signed a free agent contract with the Rams soon after the draft.
“He’s excited but this is just the first step,” Hebert said. “I feel really blessed to be getting this opportunity and I want to make the most of it and we’ll see how everything goes. I am going to work my hardest for this team.”
Of course, there is much more to the colorful Hebert than what is in his name. By his own admission, Hebert is a bit of a nerd with an affinity for first-person shooter video games and a fondness for medieval fantasy games and role playing.
But make no mistake, while Hebert likes to have fun and cut up, he takes his football very serious. After a successful career at LSU in which he started for the better part of three seasons and served as a bit of a Swiss Army Knife at the three positions on the interior, Hebert brings some versatility and a devotion to learning the game that’s rare in young players.
Although playing at a football powerhouse like LSU can be a decent approximation of what is required to be a pro, Hebert found out right away that the NFL is a different beast.
“You think when you are in college when you first get there from high school ‘Oh man, how am I ever going to learn this playbook?’” Hebert said. “And then by the time you are a senior it’s easy, how much harder can it be? But we are already learning this is truly professional football with extremely smart coaches. My goal is to study as hard as I can. I don’t want to hold myself back with mental issues.”
For now, Hebert is working almost exclusively at guard, a position where the Rams have a fairly wide open competition on the left side though Hebert doesn’t necessarily factor into that competition for a starting role right now.
Instead, Hebert is working to make an impression to push for a roster spot or even a spot on the practice squad and become a developmental project for line coach Paul Boudreau. In the meantime, he’s working overtime to try to add as much versatility to his game as possible.
“I am just doing whatever the team needs,” Hebert said.” I am trying to learn every position because that’s how I feel and been taught is the easiest way to really get the plays down. I am just going wherever I’m told.”
Helping Hebert’s transition is a pair of former LSU teammates in defensive tackle Michael Brockers and tight end DeAngelo Peterson. Hebert and Brockers regularly went head up during practice at LSU and will get to renew those acquaintances when the Rams put the pads on for training camp.
As Hebert bides his time waiting for those training camp opportunities to come, he’ll continue to work on learning his playbook and bringing some fun and enthusiasm to his teammates on a daily basis.
Hebert was born in New Orleans and lived in Mandeville, Louisiana until he was 4 before moving with his family to Atlanta. That move robbed him of some of the Cajun background and accent his father was known for but that doesn’t stop him from wearing that heritage proudly.
Most of Hebert’s family lives in southern Louisiana and when Hebert would go to visit he regularly had trouble understanding his own family members.
“I do remember one time my grandpa telling me to “grabthebat,’” Hebert said, laughing at the memory. “I was like ‘What?’ He kept telling me that so I went out to the garage and I grabbed my baseball bat and brought it to him.”
Hebert quickly realized he had misinterpreted the instructions.
“He was telling me to take a bath,” Hebert said. “That’s one that really sticks out in my mind.”
With a little luck and a strong training camp, perhaps Hebert can return to Louisiana and tell his family about his own NFL exploits.
If not, it’s fairly safe to assume Hebert is going to have a blast trying.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Hebert said. “I just feel real blessed to be here in St. Louis and be given this opportunity. The guys they’ve brought in here are excellent guys. I am thoroughly enjoying myself.”
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