Tennessee Titans left tackle Michael Roos is rolling out the red carpet for his alma mater, Eastern Washington.
Roos is the lead donor in the school’s quest to put a red artificial turf field down at EWU, similar to Boise State’s famed blue field, the university reported on its website Thursday.
Roos has pledged $500,000, which will pay for the “red carpet” and the school is still looking for approximately $400,000 more to complete the project at the school located in Cheyney, Wash.
There are also potential plans to name the stadium, or at least the playing field in some capacity, in Roos' in the spring, according to his agent.
“All I really know is he is the lead donor. I think they maybe need another $400,000-ish. They need additional funds for it to be installed and some other things, but Michael is paying for the carpet, and it’s going to be called Roos Field. It’s for real,” Roos’ agent Cameron Foster said.
The stadium, currently known as Woodward Field, hopes to have enough private contributions to make the red field a reality by the start of the 2010 season.
“There is no doubt that one of Boise State's claim to fame has been their blue turf and like it or dislike it, it has certainly brought them a tremendous amount of notoriety,” Eastern Washington athletics director Bill Chaves said in a release. “In a similar vein we have a tremendous opportunity at Eastern to do the same by differentiating ourselves with the red turf while providing a superior playing surface.”
Roos, a native of Estonia, played four years at Eastern Washington and graduated with two degrees in 2005. He was a second-round pick of the Titans in 2005 and has turned into an All-Pro left tackle in that time.
Since that time, the Michael Roos Foundation has been involved in many charitable events in the area, in a low-key manner. Roos has stayed active with contributions to the athletic department as well.
“He’s been real involved ever since he left,” Eastern Washington sports information director Dave Cook said. “It’s been great for us. He’s been to see as many games as he can on bye weeks. He’s started the Michael Roos Foundation that helps the Boys and Girls Club and other events.
“He’s bought our team two sets of uniforms. He’s been a great supporter of ours for a long time and obviously feels passionate that we gave him his opportunity to get started toward an NFL career.”
According to Cook, Eastern Washington, which has had a grass field, has had problems with the surface late in the fall when weather becomes an issue. A visit by Cleaves to Boise State for a game prompted the idea that if blue can work, why not red, which is EWU’s primary school color.
“Bill came up with red turf idea,” Cook said. “He visited Boise State last year and thought, ‘Hey why not red?’ And apparently it is allowable from an NCAA standpoint.”
Roos could not be reached for comment.