First days of NFL are good for Roach

Published 10:32 pm Monday, May 12, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Like many football fans, Brad Roach grew up watching the likes of Ray Lewis play on television.
Roach had a much more close-up view of the NFL star over the weekend. The former Williamston High School and Catawba College standout, a free-agent signee, competed on the same field as Lewis during the Baltimore Ravens’ mandatory minicamp.
Roach and his Raven teammates went through five practices from Friday through Sunday. His first NFL practice was a wet one as the team practiced during a rain Friday morning.
Things got a little chippy during Friday afternoon’s indoor practice. Another skirmish broke out during another practice, but Roach said, “that’s just football.”
Roach, who is competing with veteran Kyle Boller, second-year player Troy Smith and first-round draft pick Joe Flacco at the quarterback spot, said he was pleased with his overall performance.
Trying to grasp the playbook proved to be one of the more daunting challenges for the rookie Raven.
Roach and the rest of the Baltimore quarterbacks are in the same boat as they’re all learning a new system under new head coach John Harbaugh.
While Boller and Smith have been through NFL camps before, it’s a new experience for Roach and Flacco. With Flacco being the 18th overall pick in this year’s draft, he’s getting plenty of attention. That’s just fine with Roach.
Having some gifted receivers to throw the ball to, including veterans Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason, also helps.
Roach will rejoin his Raven teammates Thursday for the start of OTA’s (organized team activities). The team’s rookie minicamp will be held May 20-22.
The 6-6, 245-pound quarterback is excited to put on the Ravens’ helmet and jersey once again.