Nickell Robey-Coleman, Robert Woods see their friendship and careers reach Super Bowl

Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman answers questions at Super Bowl opening night in Atlanta on Monday.
(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

Real Deal Robey and Woody, more commonly referred to as slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman and wide receiver Robert Woods, have practically grown up together in their football careers. The two have spent the last nine years together, uniting from across the country at USC.

They have since bounced from coast to coast together — Los Angeles to Buffalo back to Los Angeles — connected by school, football and family tragedy. Robey-Coleman’s mother, Maxine, died not long after he committed to USC. Woods’ older sister, Olivia, died of cancer when they were in high school together. The two both carry a burden to play for the females gone too soon from their lives and often remind each other.

“[He’s] been doing it for Maxine his mom. He’ll tell me to do it for Olivia,” Woods said.

It is one of many things that has bonded the former freshman roommates as they both entered the NFL draft early, landed in Buffalo and then found their way back to Southern California after their rookie contracts expired.


“It was crazy once free agency came I signed with the Rams,” Woods said. “Next thing you know, I heard like Nickell Robey is signing with the Rams. I’m like I can’t leave this guy. He’s my brother and it’s crazy how we’ve just been playing football ever since college. It’s a great story.”

Rams wide receiver Robert Woods speaks to reporters during Super Bowl week in Atlanta.
(Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

The duo are in Atlanta this week thanks, in part, to six catches from Woods in the NFC championship game and six incompletions created by Robey-Coleman, including the controversial play late in the fourth quarter that saw Robey-Coleman hit Tommylee Lewis while the ball was in the air. (That Saints quarterback Drew Brees went one for seven for nine yards when targeting Robey-Coleman during the game has been skimmed over.)

The play and Robey-Coleman have become a national lightning rod, especially after Robey-Coleman uploaded a video to social media saying he “smacked” Lewis and put him “on a Waffle House frying pan.”

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Robey-Coleman has spent this week constantly swarmed by reporters during Rams media availability. He’s had to answer questions ad nauseam about the play and later talk about comments he made about Tom Brady’s age.


“It was hilarious. Everybody knowing Nickell Robey, Real Deal Robey,” Woods said of his friend, who entered the NFC championship game relatively unknown on a defense full of big personalities.

“It was just a funny encounter. I mean the play happened. It was what it was, but just to see everything after it. You know I’m joking with him like, ‘Hey you put him in the frying pan? Waffle House? The shirt?’ I think it’s just pure comedy. He’s running with it.”