Roth never forgets where he came from

Editor’s Note: Josh Roth was featured in the Gridiron Edition which was published Sept. 3. The following is more of Roth’s interview with the OBSERVER.

For 1996 Pine Valley graduate Josh Roth, it was his hard work that helped pave his path to the NFL.

After four years at the University at Buffalo as a fullback, Roth signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills.

“There were better athletes,” Roth said. “There is no substitute for hard work and dedication. I worked harder than anyone else. No one worked harder than me. That’s what I tell kids and the kids I coach.”

Today, Roth has a full plate on his hands. He is the owner of Kinetix Combat Sports in Falconer. He is also a state trooper and teaches defense tactics for the force. Roth has three children.

He coaches 11-13 year old Midget football for his oldest son. His middle child plays flag football and his 5-year-old daughter also plays flag football.

“I don’t talk about my playing days too much,” Roth said. “If they ask, I tell them. They are kind of proud of it. They don’t understand what it means yet. I don’t dwell on it and put pressure on them. They don’t have to live up to it.”

Roth spent two years with the Buffalo Bills on their practice squad when they were coached by Wade Phillips. He was released following an injury and went to the Arena Football League. He was eventually signed by the Kansas City Chiefs and head coach Dick Vermeil.

“Wade Phillips is a players’ coach and he was fond of me,” Roth said. “He liked me and wanted to keep me on the team. We was a wonderful, down to Earth person. Dick Vermeil was a sweetheart. He would have you over for dinner. There were a lot of great people I was fortunate enough to meet.

“The NFL is a different experience than high school and college,” Roth continued. “It’s very close relationships with teammates and coaches in high school and college. In college, you live together and spend a lot of time together. The NFL is more business like. With new players, you have to earn respect and it’s a bit of an adjustment. The level of competition is amazing. It’s great to see that kind of atmosphere and I am proud of the fact I was there and at that level.”

After his playing days were over, Roth came back to Western New York to be with his wife.

“Western New York is a great place to live,” he said. “It’s where my family is. I didn’t have any direction after football. I was 100 percent football at the time. When that was over, I didn’t have direction. I had to make direction and become a normal human being. I am happy where I am at. Everything has worked out well.”

While getting the chance to travel thanks to football, Roth remains faithful to his hometown

“Pine Valley is a small community,” he said. “It was a great place to go to school. There were so many wonderful teachers and coaches. As far as my athletic stay there, I played baseball and football. I had great coaches in Bob Krenzer and Charlie LaDuca. I couldn’t ask for better coaches to look up to and learn life lessons from. The lessons learned from a small town were to be held accountable. It’s a small town community with hard workers.”

Though playing at Arrowhead Stadium and Ralph Wilson, along as other Division 1 stadiums, Roth’s favorite time on the gridiron came while playing for the Panthers.

“That was the level I enjoyed most,” he said. “At that level, it’s all about emotion and it’s so much fun. In a small town, we spent so much time together. Nothing ever compares to high school football. I always reflect on that as my favorite time. We played at the Ralph Wilson Stadium my junior year and senior year. We won both. That was pretty neat. I got to run out of the Ralph Wilson Stadium tunnel as a high school kid and as a pro with a full stadium. It was a feeling to remember. As a child, I watched Buffalo and I wanted to be Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas. I wanted to fulfil that dream and that was great when I accomplished that goal.”