Michael Roos, the former Eastern Washington offensive lineman and namesake of Roos Field at EWU, is retiring from the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans left tackle played 10 seasons and 148 games with the Titans. He announced his decision Thursday on social media after informing the Titans.
“After 10 years as a Tennessee Titan I have decided to retire from football,” Roos wrote in his Instagram post. “I have given this decision much consideration. I feel fortunate to have played this long coming from a TE turned DE turned OT from Eastern Washington University.”
Roos ranked second only to Dominic Raiola (155) for starts by offensive linemen since 2005. The 41st pick overall in 2005, Roos was an All Pro and Pro Bowler in 2008 as the Titans went an NFL-best 13-3. He helped block for Chris Johnson’s 2,006-yard rushing season in 2009.
He also anchored a line that blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher each year between 2005 and 2013 while ranking third for fewest sacks allowed in the NFL in that span.
Roos started the first 119 games of his career, a streak stopped only by an emergency appendectomy in 2012. But a knee injury limited Roos to five games last season, and he said he was thinking of retiring with his contract expiring. Roos thanked his coaches from high school through Ken Whisenhunt and all his teammates.
“I want to thank my coaches Mike Woodward (high school); Aaron Best, Paul Wulff, Beau Baldwin (EWU); Jeff Fisher, Mike Munchak, Ken Whisenhunt, Bruce Matthews (Titans); and all the coaches who made me a better player and man.
“To all the men I’ve shared the field with: I’m honored to have called you teammates. We have made memories for many lifetimes.
“I’m excited to begin the rest of my life, and I am grateful to do so now, while I am fully healthy,” he concluded. “Although I don’t know what adventure the future holds, I know there will be family, friends, travel, whiskey, cigars and beer. All a man can ask for, and more. Thank you Titans fans for your support all these years. Cheers!!”
Known for the generosity to EWU, Roos has been a regular visitor to Eastern games in the past 10 years when the NFL schedule allowed. Eastern honored Roos by retiring his jersey at EWU’s Homecoming game on Oct. 24, 2009, versus Montana State.
Roos and his wife, Katherine, pledged $500,000 to help EWU install a red Sprinturf surface in 2010 at Eastern’s football stadium, and EWU has won 31 of 36 games at “The Inferno” since then. As a tribute to his giving legacy, Eastern re-named Woodward Field to “Roos Field” in fall 2010 upon completion of the project.
“On behalf of Eastern, we send our congratulations to Michael for a tremendous collegiate and NFL career,” said Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves. “There are not many times that you can state that someone reached the highest level in their profession, but Michael achieved it as an All-Pro. We wish he and Kat nothing the but the best in their next chapter of life.”
Roos’ retirement now leaves the Titans looking for two new starting tackles. They waived right tackle Michael Oher earlier this month.
General manager Ruston Webster described Roos as a true pro and model of consistency during his time in Tennessee.
“He had the unique ability to make playing a very difficult position look effortless,” Webster said in a statement. “Playing one of the toughest positions on the field, he was a player that Titans fans could count on week in and week out, and one of the most durable players in the history of the franchise.”
Roos started his first game as a rookie at Pittsburgh at left tackle before switching to right tackle for the rest of the season. He then took over at left tackle after Brad Hopkins retired before the 2006 season. Last season was his only year where Roos didn’t play at least 15 games. Mike Munchak coached Roos first as his position coach, then head coach between 2011 and 2013.
“Michael was such an intelligent football player,” said Munchak, now a Steelers assistant coach. “He always understood his opponent, our offensive scheme, their defensive scheme and all the angles involved. That knowledge and film work let him play with a great deal of confidence.”
David Stewart was drafted the same year as Roos and played right tackle before retiring a year ago.
“He led by example and made everybody better,” Stewart said. “It was an honor to have him around my entire career to push me and make me a better player.”
Kevin Mawae played center for the Titans between 2006 and 2009. He congratulated Roos on his retirement.
“He was a great teammate and a friend in and out of the locker room,” Mawae said. “Michael was professional in every aspect, and served as an example of what a professional football player should be. I am proud to say that we played together.”
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