LB Nick Roach joins the Raiders after spending six seasons with the Chicago Bears. The Milwaukee, Wis., native played college football at Northwestern University before signing as undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers in 2007. Now with the Silver and Black, Roach is excited to begin anew and compete for a starting role on the defense.
Roach recently arrived in the Bay Area with his wife and three dogs after driving an RV from Chicago. "The trip out here was great," said Roach. "We have three dogs that we took with us in the RV and took a couple days driving. We stopped over in Flaming Gorge Rec Area over in Utah. We slept there and drove around and took some pictures on one of those scenic routes over there. And then the second time we parked at an RV park in Winnemucca, [Nevada]. We drove through Salt Lake City, saw the great Salt Lake, just something we like to do when we have time."
The veteran linebacker has acclimated fairly quickly to Northern California because some of his wife's family lives in San Francisco. "We've been out here quite a few times and then to be able to have them show us around has been helpful," said Roach.
Roach is also excited to experience the Bay Area culture. "I texted my mom a picture of a little taco shop and had a pork taco, chicken taco, carne asada and I was just telling her that there are tangible perks living here," said Roach. "And the weather is one of them, along with other things. Culturally it's nice. You hear a lot about the Bay Area, even being far away from Chicago. It's kind of another one of the big segments of the country so it's cool to be here."
Most importantly for Roach, however, is getting comfortable at his new workplace, the Raiders headquarters in Alameda. "I've kind of been telling all my family back home, it's kind of like the first day of high school," explained Roach about the first week of voluntary off-season workouts. "Not a lot of people know each other, a lot of new faces, but it seems to be a lot of guys that have played before, so it's cool to have a lot of guys with a lot of different experiences and a lot of good stories to be shared."
Roach was impressed with the vibe as the week-one voluntary workouts came to a close. "It's positive because I think we're all here just for the same reason," said Roach. "They want to do things right, just want to work hard, figure it out and, at the end of the day, get wins together and have fun."
Roach hopes to use the off-season to lay a base for team camaraderie. "I think the biggest thing I'm looking forward to is just getting the locker room chemistry going," said Roach. "The team is only as good as the relationships of the guys on it, so just the more that we can be around each other and have fun, hang out, get to know each other and work together, build those bonds, and that's what will help us during the year."
He is also looking forward to playing in front of Raider Nation. "All you hear is how hyped they get in the end zone and how crazy they go for the home team," said Roach. "You can't ask for anything more as a player than having fans that are behind you, people that inspire you and they get loud when you do something good on field. You hope to give them a lot of stuff to cheer about."
As he prepares to play at O.co Coliseum, Roach wants Raider Nation to know that he takes his job very seriously. "Raider Nation should know that Nick Roach takes nothing for granted," he said. "He's just a guy that feels that hard work is necessary and is definitely rewarded in due time."
Make sure to follow the new Raiders linebacker on Twitter at @ricknoach.