With EWU’s red field named after him, Roos has become an iconic figure in Eastern Football history
Roos Field will probably see a little more of Michael Roos now.
The former Eastern Washington University and Tennessee Titans offensive tackle announced his retirement from the National Football League on Thursday (Feb. 26) after his 10th season as a pro was ended by a knee injury last Oct. 5 that required surgery. He earned All-Pro accolades in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and started in the Pro Bowl in February of 2009.
In his last 13 seasons as a football player, Roos started every game he played – a total of 226 games. His last 35 starts were at EWU from 2002-04 when he originally became an offensive lineman. He credited several EWU coaches in his retirement statement on Instagram.
“After 10 years as a Tennessee Titan I have decided to retire from football,” Roos wrote. “I have given this decision much consideration. I feel fortunate to have played this long coming from a tight end turned defensive end turned offensive tackle from Eastern Washington University.
“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."
Starting Streak Extended to 226
Since Michael Roos became an offensive lineman as a sophomore at Eastern Washington University in 2002, he started every football game he played from 2002-14 as a collegian or professional. That streak ended at 226 after Roos suffered a knee injury on Oct. 5, 2014, and subsequently retired. He started 190 of a possible 190 games he could play in until an appendicitis attack and subsequent surgery in October 2012. Here’s the math:
35 starts at EWU (3 seasons, 2002-04)
+40 preseason NFL Games (10 seasons, 2005-14)
+148 regular season NFL Games (10, 2005-14)
+2 NFL Playoff Games (2007 & 2008)
+1 NFL Pro Bowl Game (February 2009)
=226 Straight Starts (through 10/5/14)
Michael Roos – Off. Tackle – Letter Winner at EWU 2001-02-03-04
Drafted in the 2nd round (41st overall) by Tennessee in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Tennessee Titans: Since Michael Roos became an offensive lineman as a sophomore at Eastern Washington University in 2002, he started every football game he played from 2002-14 as a collegian or professional. That streak that was at 226 games when he suffered a knee injury on Oct. 5, 2014, and subsequently announced his retirement on Feb. 26, 2015. He started 190 of a possible 190 games he could have played in until an appendicitis attack and subsequent surgery ended that streak in October 2012. Besides 35 EWU starts to end his collegiate career, he started 40 preseason NFL Games (10 seasons, 2005-14), 148 regular season NFL Games (10 seasons, 2005-14), 2 NFL Playoff Games (2007 & 2008) and 1 NFL Pro Bowl Game (February 2009). At the conclusion of the 2011 season, his 112-game active starting streak ranked second in the NFL among all offensive tackles, trailing only Detroit’s Jeff Backus (176). In his first nine seasons in Tennessee (2005-13), the Titans allowed the third-lowest number of sacks in the NFL (244), ranking only behind Indianapolis and New Orleans.
In 2011, he was named to the Sporting News All-Pro team. He was part of a unit that allowed just 24 sacks to rank second in the NFL. He made his 100th regular season start against Cleveland on Oct. 2, 2011, and the Titans did not allow a sack and helped Chris Johnson rush for 101 yards.
In 2010, he was a member of an offensive front that opened holes for Titans’ ball carriers to gain 1,727 rushing yards. In 2009, he was a second team All-Pro selection by Associated Press as he blocked for the NFL’s second-best rushing attack (162.0 yards per game). He helped open holes for Johnson, who became just the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards. Tennessee’s offensive line allowed only 16 sacks and helped the team finish with the second-most rushing yards in franchise history with 305 versus Jacksonville on Nov. 1.
The 2008 season was a season of firsts for Roos as Associated Press selected him as one of two offensive tackles on its 2008 All-Pro team. He was one of just two NFL offensive tackles selected to the first team (the other was Jordan Gross of Carolina). In addition, he earned his first Pro Bowl invitation and started in the game played on Feb. 8, 2009. In November 2008, Roos was selected to the mid-season NFL All-Pro team selected by Sports Illustrated and writer Paul Zimmerman.
Among the many former Eagles who have played in the NFL, none have ever been invited to the Pro Bowl, let alone win All-Pro honors. However, Kurt Schulz (Buffalo Bills) was an alternate in 2001 and both he and Ed Simmons (Washington Redskins) earned all-division accolades during their 10- and 11-year NFL careers, respectively.
Roos allowed just one sack in 16 regular season games in the 2008 season, and was part of an offensive line that allowed a NFL-low and franchise-record 12 sacks in 2008. He played a key role in opening holes for the league’s seventh-ranked rushing attack that featured Pro Bowler Chris Johnson (1,228 yards, nine TDs) and LenDale White (773 yards, 15 TDs to rank third in the NFL). Tennessee rushed for a franchise-record 332 rushing yards in Week 7 at Kansas City.
The Titans won the 2008 AFC South Division title with a 13-3 record – the best record in the NFL during the regular season. Tennessee then received a first-round bye in the playoffs before their season came to an end with a 13-10 loss to Baltimore. In May 2008, Roos signed a six-year, $43 million contract extension with the Titans.
Besides being a stellar season for Roos, 2008 was also a season of continued improvement for the Titans. Roos helped the Titans go from a 4-12 record as a rookie in 2005 to an 8-8 mark in 2006 as the Titans just missed the playoffs. In 2007, the Titans finished 10-6 and advanced to the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2003. Tennessee won its final three regular season games in 2007, including a 16-10 victory over defending Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis on the final day of the regular season. Roos started his 96th-consecutive game when the Titans lost in the first round to San Diego on Jan. 6, 2008. Earlier in the season, Roos helped the Titans rush for what was then a club-record 282 yards in a 13-10 win over Jacksonville.
Drafted in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft (41st pick overall), Roos started all 16 games as a rookie at right tackle for the Titans. The following season, Roos moved to left tackle when 13 year-veteran Brad Hopkins retired in the off-season. Roos started all 16 games at left tackle as he helped the Tennessee rushing attack rank third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL with 2,214 rushing yards, while posting a franchise record 4.7-average yards per carry for the season. Roos also helped pave the way for running back Travis Henry to rush for 1,211 yards and Vince Young to become the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to exceed 500 rushing yards.
Said Titans General Manager Floyd Reese at the end of the 2005 season: “He showed the versatility to play both left or right, and very seldom are you going to find a lot of guys like that. That is quite a bill to fill.”
2005 NFL Draft: Roos became the highest draft choice in school history when Tennessee selected him in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He was the 41st selection overall, the third offensive tackle selected and the first FCS player taken. In addition, he was the first Big Sky Conference player selected and the highest since 1989. He was the only player in the 2005 draft class to start all 112 regular season games from 2005 through 2011, and none started every game from 2005-2010. At the time he was drafted, Roos had played just six seasons of football, starting as a senior at Mountain View High School in fall 1999. He moved to the United States from Estonia in 1992.
At Eastern: Roos came to Eastern as a tight end after graduating from Mountain View High School in 2000. After redshirting one season, he played the 2001 season on the defensive line before starting 35-straight Eagle games at left offensive tackle. As a senior in 2004, he earned five different All-America honors and was the I-AA.Org Lineman of the Year after helping Eastern to a 9-4 record and the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. Roos played in a pair of prestigious college all-star games – the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl – and was also invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote selected him as the top offensive lineman in school history. In addition, Eastern honored Roos by retiring his jersey at EWU’s Homecoming game on Oct. 24, 2009, versus Montana State. And as a tribute to his giving legacy, Eastern re-named Woodward Field to “Roos Field” in fall 2010 upon completion of the Red Turf project that he and his wife Katherine pledged $500,000 toward.
With Red Turf Comes Name Change to “Roos Field”
In the 10 years after their experience as students as Eastern Washington University, Michael Roos and his wife Katherine established a generous legacy of giving back to their alma mater. The checklist of philanthropic giving, both individually and through the Michael Roos Foundation, is impressive:
• $500,000 pledge toward the Red Turf project at EWU’s Woodward Field, which was renamed Roos Field at a dedication on Sept. 16, 2010.
• Established the Michael Roos Foundation Dinner, Sports Auction and Poker Tournament at Northern Quest Casino on March 10, 2007. The second-annual event took place on March 1, 2008.
• In 2009 and 2010, the Michael Roos Foundation partnered with EWU’s Orland Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction.
• Each June from 2010-2014, has hosted the Michael Roos Foundation Fish & Chip Tournament in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, area. The event features NFL players, EWU supporters and several corporate sponsors for two days of competition featuring golf and bass fishing, as well as a special autograph signing event, lake cruise and youth clinic.
• During its short existence, the Michael Roos Foundation has benefited Eastern Athletics, Special Olympics in Washington and Boys and Girls Clubs of Spokane County.
• In addition, the Roos family has donated not just one, but two sets of uniforms to the Eastern Football program.
As a tribute to their giving legacy, Eastern re-named Woodward Field to “Roos Field” at a dedication ceremony Sept. 16, 2010, two days prior to the first game played on the new red turf against Montana on Sept. 18. In making the approval of the name change, the Eastern Board of Trustees commended the Roos family’s philanthropic efforts on behalf of Eastern and the community through the Michael Roos Foundation.
“We are thrilled to be able to acknowledge in this manner the incredible contributions Michael and Katherine have made to Eastern Washington University,” said Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves. “We felt this was the most appropriate honor we could give them.”
In addition, Eastern honored Roos by retiring his jersey at EWU’s Homecoming game on Oct. 24, 2009, versus Montana State.
“Having my jersey retired is obviously a huge thrill for me,” said Roos. “It’s something you never think is going to happen, so when I was told about it, I was definitely ecstatic. It’s an honor that not many players achieve at any level, so I feel extremely honored that Eastern has decided to retire mine.”
The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Roos was quick to credit his former coaches at Eastern -– offensive line coach Aaron Best and head coach Paul Wulff – for his accomplishments along the way. Best is currently offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at EWU, while Wulff moved on to become head coach at Washington State University, an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers and is now at South Florida.
“I was very lucky to have the best offensive line coach possible in Aaron Best,” praised Roos when his jersey was retired. “He taught all of us the meaning of hard work and perseverance. Also, I was fortunate that Paul Wulff took a chance on me out of high school and gave me the opportunity.
“Most importantly, I owe the most to my wife Katherine,” he added. “She has put her life on hold since the day the NFL was a faint possibility, and she has supported me 100 percent every step of the way.”