Source: Bears want Roach as backup

Nick Roach has started 30 career games for the Bears, including six last season. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Despite actively searching for a starting caliber linebacker in free agency, the Chicago Bears are interested in retaining free-agent linebacker Nick Roach, according to a source familiar with the situation.

But according to the source, the Bears envision Roach as a backup linebacker/special teams standout, the same role the Northwestern product held in 2010.

Roach may be comfortable staying in Chicago under those parameters, according to the source. The linebacker has made it clear in the past that he's extremely fond of his teammates and coaches and would prefer to remain with the Bears.

But it's unknown what type of interest Roach may draw on the open market. A chance to start for another team, or a significantly better offer could change the entire equation.

Since being signed off the San Diego Chargers practice squad in November 2007, Roach has made 30 career starts for the Bears, six last season, and tied for the team lead with 10 tackles for a loss in 2009. The versatile linebacker has collected 27 special teams tackles while in a Bears' uniform.