By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 4:39 pm in Oakland Raiders.
A transcription of a conference call with the local media and linebacker Nick Roach, signed Friday:
Q: How quickly did this all come about? Did you entertain offers from any other teams?
Roach: It was really just the Raiders and the Bears, obviously, what it came down to. I came out on the visit and we were just in position to gauge the Bears’ interest back and forth, and taking all things into consideration, it seemed like Oakland was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.
Q: Your understanding you’ll be playing middle linebacker?
Roach: The kind of just said they see me being able to do a lot of things that they want to do, so specifically the middle, I’m not sure if that will be the case. I think they kind of want to just get me in and see wherever the best fit is for everybody that they bring in.
Q: Took over last season for Brian Urlacher and got a good taste of what it feels like to be a middle linebacker, what is it you like about the position?
Roach: Obviously, you’re on the field a lot. You’re in the middle of everything and get to a lot of plays that maybe if you’re on the outside you can’t get all the way across the field to get to. Just being in the mix, I enjoy that. I enjoy being in the game and having to know the situations and all the adjustments that go along with it. Just the whole thing.
Q: How much did it help for you in terms of proving versatility, playing both spots?
Roach: It was huge. You don’t even know yourself that you can do something until you have a chance to really do it. It was big for being able to get the film out there and just for the confidence of feeling like your versatility is really worth something.
Q: What intrigued you about opportunity in Oakland?
Roach: It’s just exciting, the whole culture of the organization, that in my mind is on the upswing, and being able to come in and add to that, hopefully, is something to look forward to, I think.
Q: How much did playing with guys like Urlacher and Briggs help you develop into player you are today?
Roach: It’s been great. Those guys are friends of mine, and more importantly they’re great examples of how to be a pro, how to be successful at the highest level. Kind of being behind them and next to them for the last few years has really helped. Just kind of watching, leadership by example, what it looks like
Q: Raiders have been clear last two years they’re looking guys who are serious about football, love it, not a lot of drama, guys who want to play . . . does that sum you up?
Roach: Yeah, I think so. I think there are a lot of guys like that, the guys that are under the radar. You won’t make it for long in the NFL if you don’t really love it because you won’t have the motivation to do all the things that it takes. It’s just exciting to be able to get in and get to learn everything, and go from there.
Q: Any concerns as far as Raiders being in a rebuilding mode?
Roach: Honestly it didn’t really cross my mind. I was just, I guess that’s an opinion some people might have, but my concern was getting a chance to meet the coaches and just kind of see where they saw me fitting in, and if the situation seemed like the best for me and my family.
Q: See yourself as a guy that’s going to come in and take over as a leader with a lot of enthusiasm, or more of a guy who prepares and you lead that way?
Roach: I’m not a huge rah-rah guy or anything. I think I’m able to lead by example with the daily things, taking care of your body, study the opponent, that kind of stuff. I’m going to continue to do that and if that translates to the field it will be a good example.
Q: Won Ed Block Courage award, what does that mean to you?
Roach: Kind of what it says to me is you’re able to earn the respect of your teammates and your locker room. It’s obviously a huge honor, when you can get an award that’s voted on strictly by the guys that you play with, so we’re excited to go out there tomorrow and spend a couple days with the community and seeing what the whole award really is about in person.
Q: Gotten a feeling that having that award meant something to the organization?
Roach: Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m sure it kind of was, I guess you could call it a resume-builder kind of thing. It’s always good to have the label that says you’re respected by your teammates in the locker room that you’re in. I’m sure that might have been a consideration.
Q: When you came in to the league as undrafted free agent, was your approach just making it day-by-day, or with a chip in your shoulder, confident you would make it?
Roach: For me, it was just about, whatever opportunity was in front of me I would try to take advantage of it, I was ecstatic when I made the practice squad in San Diego. I didn’t really feel slighted or feel I deserved anything more than what the opportunity had presented at that time. It was just the daily things that kind of led up to this point where I was able to get a chance to play and produce a little bit.
Q: Last season Philip Wheeler came in here, having played Cover 2 in Indy, was able to be a play-maker after mostly falling into coverage for Colts. You played in Bears Cover 2, you think this system might allow you to spread your wings a little, do more things?
Roach: Yeah, I’m not sure yet. We haven’t had enough time to go that in depth on it. But it is a little bit different and I’ll be able to, I guess, use a little bit more versatility in terms of just football-playing ability. But I think in my time in Chicago, I fit that scheme pretty well, too. So to say that I’ll be able to do anything more or less, I’m not sure yet.