Q: Can you just tell us a little bit about how quickly all this came about? Did you entertain any offers from anybody else or did the Raiders jump in and that was about it?
Roach: It was really just the Raiders and the Bears, obviously, who it came down to. Once I came out on the visit, we were just in a position to kind of 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: Is it your understanding that you’re going to come in as middle linebacker? Is that what they’ve told you?
Roach: They’ve kind of said that they see me being able to do a lot of things that they want to do. So specifically at middle, I’m not sure if that would be the case, but I think they kind of want to just get me in and see where the best fit is for everybody that they can bring in.
Q: You took over last season for [Brian] Urlacher at middle linebacker a lot and you got a good taste of what it feels like to be a middle linebacker; what is it that you like about the position?
Roach: The things I like obviously is you’re on the field a lot being in the middle of everything and you kind of get to a lot of plays that maybe being 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, so just the whole thing.
Q: How much do you think it helped for you in terms of proving your versatility, showing you can play both spots now?
Roach: It was huge. You don’t even really know yourself that you can do something until you have a chance to really do it, so it was big for being able to get the film out there and obviously just for confidence of feeling like versatility is really worth something.
Q: What is it about the opportunity here in Oakland that intrigued you?
Roach: It’s just exciting, the whole culture of the organization is kind of, in my mind, is on the upward. Being able to come in and add to that is something to look forward to, I think.
Q: How much did playing with guys like Urlacher and [Lance] Briggs help you over the years develop into the player you are today?
Roach: It’s been great. Those guys are good friends of mine and, more importantly, they’re great examples of just how to be a pro, how to be successful at the highest level for both of them. Being behind them and next to them for the last few years has really helped to just kind of watch their leadership by example of what it looks like.
Q: They’ve been pretty clear over the last two years, [Reggie] McKenzie and [Coach Dennis] Allen has been, that they’re looking for guys that don’t necessarily have to be on everybody’s radar or be big names nationally, but who are really serious about football, who love it, that work it every day, that don’t bring a lot of drama; does that kind of sum you up?
Roach: Yeah, I would say so. I think there are a lot of guys like that because those are the guys that are under the radar. You won’t make it long in the NFL if you don’t really love it just because you won’t have the motivation to do all the things that it takes. Like I said, it’s just exciting just to be able to come in and get to learn everything and go from there.
Q: Any concerns on your part as far as the Raiders maybe being in a rebuilding mode?
Roach: It didn’t really cross my mind. I guess that’s an opinion that 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 it was the best for me and my family.
Roach: Yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a huge ‘rah rah’ guy or anything, but I think I’m able to lead by example just with the daily things, taking care of your body and making sure you study your opponent, all that type of stuff. So I think if I’m able to continue to do that and have it still translate onto the field, that’ll be a good example.
Q: What does earning the Ed Block Courage Award mean to you?
Roach: What it says to me is that you were able to earn the respect of your teammates in your locker room. That’s obviously a huge honor that you can get an award that’s voted on strictly by the guys that you play with. We’re excited to go out there tomorrow and spend a couple of days in the community and see what the whole award is about in person.
Q: Have you gotten a feel from the Raiders that having that award and doing what you did to earn it meant something to the Raiders organization?
Roach: Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m sure it was probably a ‘resume builder’ type of thing, so it was good to have a name 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 into the league as an undrafted free agent, were you just looking to make it past the first practice and then the next practice and the next practice or were you a guy that said, ‘you know what, I should have been drafted, I’m going to be in this league and that’s that?’
Roach: Honestly, 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 like I got slighted or I deserved anything more than what the opportunity presented at that time. So, like I said, just the daily things that 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 here and he played in a Cover 2 system in Indianapolis for a long time where he didn’t get to do a lot of blitzing or a lot of moving around. He was basically falling back and playing coverage. The [Raiders] scheme made it so he could all of a sudden be a much bigger playmaker. I don’t know if the Bears do more things with their Cover 2 – do you see a scheme here where it might let you spread your wings a little bit, just on what you’ve been told so far?
Roach: I’m not sure yet. We haven’t had enough time to go that in depth on it. I know it is a little bit different and we’ll be able to I guess use it a little bit more versatility in terms of just football playing ability. But I think my time in Chicago I fit that scheme pretty well too. To say I’ll be able to do anything more or less, I’m not sure yet.