When football became a job and not a love, Bengals linebacker Trevor Roach knew at the tender age of 24 it was time to retire.
Roach, whose NFL career consisted of two seasons, five games, and one post-season tackle, informed his teammates late last season and on Friday it became official when the Bengals put him on the reserve/retired list.
"Once I realized I didn't love football like I used to, it wasn't worth going forward," Roach said. "The money's good, but that's not why I got into it. When I started showing up and it felt like work, that's when I knew it was time."
Roach, an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska, spent his rookie season on the practice squad until he was signed for the 2015 Wild Card game after linebacker Emmanuel Lamur went on injured reserve and he had a special teams tackle against the Steelers.
He dressed for the first three games last season, went back to the practice squad when WILL backer Vontaze Burfict returned from suspension, and then returned for the regular-season finale. Roach played two snaps from scrimmage and logged another special teams tackle, but play time had nothing to do with it.
It had been on his mind for awhile
"I thought we had a chance to win it all, so I came back this year," Roach said. "I talked to my mentor and I told him, 'I'm going to play again and try to come home with a ring.' And he told me, 'You already have the most important ring.' My wedding ring."
His wife's job as a nurse at Children's Hospital in Omaha is a factor. Plus, Stephanie's husband, a double major in finance and management with a minor in economics at the University of Nebraska, wants to get to work in corporate finance.
"She really loves her job and we would have been living apart again for a lot of the year," Roach said. "There were a couple of factors, but mainly it was falling out of love with it. And I want to start my own career and I've seen guys play for 10 years and have their bodies beat up and I didn't want to do that."
Roach let the linebackers room in on his decision during the season and he said they were supportive.
"Some of them said take your time and think about it before making my decision," Roach said.
On Friday, it was official.