Quincy Roche an inspiration
When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Quincy Roche in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, there was more talk of the fact he grew up a fan of the Baltimore Ravens than what the impact he could have on the field would be. Roche quickly made it clear though that him and his family would no longer be supporting the Ravens.
“We’re not going to be Ravens fans anymore,” said Roche, via Steelers.com. “They can watch them when I am not there. But I am pretty sure they are all Steelers fans now.”
Despite the fact he may not have grown up a fan of the Steelers, fans are already starting to embrace the rookie who is proving to be an inspiration in the community.
The outside linebacker revealed to Steelers.com that he has battled Tourette syndrome since he was a child. It’s a nervous system disorder that there is no cure for. However, there are treatments for it.
“It’s not something you can just get rid of,” said Roche. “I will have it my whole life. You get better at dealing with it. It gave me an advantage in sports because I am able to focus the way other people can’t. You are forced to.”
“Instead of taking medicine, I used techniques and exercises I learned to overcome. Breathing exercises, focusing. I used to do a lot of things with my hands. I used to build a lot of things growing up. You learn how to control your thoughts, your mind and what is going on in your body. You become more self-aware. It’s not easy at all.”
Roche knows how difficult it can be for a child to have to deal with it, but he has learned various mechanisms to help control it.
“It’s a lot harder when you are younger. It’s something they say you can grow out of, but you just grow through experience. It’s something you grow to be able to live with it
Dealing with Tourette syndrome has not hindered the youngster’s career at all. In 2019, he was named the American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and was named an All-American by Sports Illustrated while playing with Temple.
He opted to transfer to the University of Miami prior to the 2020 season where he played his final year of college football before being drafted by Pittsburgh. He had 45 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries during the 2020 campaign. He is well aware that every play matters in the NFL and looking to make an immediate impact both on and off the field.
“That is the mentality I have been groomed to have from when I first started learning the fundamentals of football early in my career,” said Roche.
“It’s not all about sacks all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, sacks are important. But if you can get tackles on special teams, tackles for a loss, if you can force the ball out of the ball carrier’s hands, the quarterback’s hands, those things are more important than sacks. It’s about being disruptive as much as possible, batting the pass down.
“Not every game is going to be a three-sack game. You might have two pass defenses, three tackles for a loss, instead of 3 sacks. Some games it might be a blocked kick and 10 tackles and no sacks. Those are huge momentum swingers. They help the team a lot. They bring momentum and energy to the team. I try not to get caught up in sacks, sacks, sacks. Just be disruptive.”