INDIANAPOLIS –- Raiders middle linebacker Nick Roach suffered a serious concussion, maybe more than one, in a preseason game at Green Bay back in August. Roughly seven months later, symptoms persist.
General manager Reggie McKenzie said on Wednesday that Roach still hasn’t been formally cleared to resume football activities. That’s not a good sign for a player in his prime hoping for a return to the gridiron.
“The last time the medical staff spoke to me, he was not cleared as of yet,” McKenzie said during a sit-down with Raiders beat writers at the NFL scouting combine. “You have to start looking out for the player. I’ll continue to communicate with the medical staff and I’ll talk to Nick and we’ll make a decision.”
It’s possible that Roach will not return in 2015 due to lingering concussion-like symptoms. The Raiders are chiefly concerned with Roach’s well-being at this stage.
“I’m only concerned about the best interest of the player,” McKenzie said. “As much as I would love for Nick to be our defensive signal caller, I don’t want to risk a lifelong injury if he goes out there, especially if he has any type of feeling within him that something’s not right. For (symptoms) to last this long, it’s not a good thing.”
Roach continues to work out and prepare for the offseason program under new head coach Jack Del Rio. Regardless of what happens with Roach, the Raiders will search for support at middle linebacker.
They were extremely reliant on him in 2013, a season where he played every defensive snap and was a leader on defense. He didn’t play a regular-season snap in 2014, and the Raiders put Miles Burris into a difficult spot without a true reserve middle linebacker. Burris moved over from the weak side and, while he improved some as the season wore on, he was ill suited to play Roach’s position full time.