Roach drawing interest as middle linebacker
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter
11:52 a.m. CST, March 9, 2013

A half-dozen teams called Saturday morning to express interest in Chicago Bears linebacker Nick Roach, according to his agent.

Josh Wright told the Tribune that teams are checking in on Roach at this point in the three-day negotiating window that began Friday at 11 p.m. The Bears have stated they would like Roach, 27, to return but they have made moves with only two of their free agents, tendering offers to defensive tackle Henry Melton and running back Armando Allen.

Roach earned $1.715 million last season as part of a two-year, $4.5 million contract he signed in 2011.

Some of the teams calling have talked about Roach playing middle linebacker, a position he manned for the final four games of the 2012 season when Brian Urlacher was sidelined with a hamstring injury. The Bears received a contract proposal from Urlacherís agent on Thursday and if the Bears re-sign Urlacher, they likely would bring Roach back as a strong-side linebacker, the position heís primarily played since 2008.

ďIím not going to comment on the status of any negotiations,Ē said Wright, who declined to identify the teams involved.

Roach was sixth on the team in tackles last season with 84 and added five tackles for loss, five quarterback pressures, 1 Ĺ sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He made 41 of those tackles during his four starts at middle linebacker, including 14 in the Week 16 victory at Arizona. Roach was a two-down player as a strong-side linebacker but projecting his time at middle linebacker over an entire season he would have made 164 tackles.

Roach isnít the only pending free agent that the Bears have expressed interest in retaining. Defensive lineman Israel Idonije and right tackle Jonathan Scott are players general manager Phil Emery has said he would like to return. Those players can shop themselves to other teams at this point and the Bears may be allowing the players an opportunity to gauge the market before making a push to sign them.

Backup quarterback Jason Campbell, guard Lance Louis and cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden and Zack Bowman also could be candidates to return.
Depending on the interest of other teams and his contract demands, Roach might be an intriguing name to keep an eye on when it comes to filling the Rams' vacant SAM linebacker spot.