The Tennessee Titans may have questions about what they see on game film from their sixth-round safety, but there won't be any questions about his intelligence, determination or character. With the 207th overall pick (the final pick in the sixth round), Tennessee drafted Florida State's Myron Rolle(notes). There's some real football skill there, but it's what Rolle did outside of football in the 2009 season that made news.
Rolle, who graduated in 2 ½ years from Florida State with a 3.75 GPA, spent the 2009 football season as a Rhodes Scholar, studying in Oxford, England at the highest academic level. Still, he was labeled by some as a football deserter -- someone whose love for the game was questioned. He came back to the game in time for all the 2010 pre-draft activities, recording decent numbers at the scouting combine and in a private workout for NFL scouts.
At the combine, Rolle tried to explain how he reconciled his love for football and his future dreams of a career in medicine. "That's been a popular question that I've received here. My answer to them, which is a genuine and truthful answer, is that I think my pursuits academically have helped me in football. You learn discipline, you learn time management, you learn structure, you learn organization and as a football player those are obviously valuable assets and traits you can use to be great whether in film studies or on the field. I tell them I want to transform all of the positive traits I've learned in the classroom by the pinnacle of academic achievement, the Rhodes Scholarship, become an even better football player by it.''
I have to say, I'm rooting for Rolle to make it all happen. In a culture that professes character first and still frequently gives the best chances to the worst people, it's good to see a guy like Rolle study at a level most would find incomprehensible and manage to keep his football goals alive by maintaining a workout schedule in England. Still, it was tough to be away from the environment at times.
"I would say American football is not a very revered sport there," Rolle said of his time in Old Blighty. "I had a chance to go to the Patriots-Bucs game at Wembley Stadium. I saw every team represented there by a jersey, by a British fan, and they were cheering for punts. It was fun -- great to be there, a great stadium, great environment, great atmosphere. As far as my cohorts at Oxford, my classmates, my friends who were Rhodes Scholars -- they really didn't understand why I woke up at 6 every morning to train. I tried to explain to them the importance of it and why I had to go through these particular events and it still didn't make too much sense to them. So I tried to change the topic to the United Nations or world hunger or something like that."
In any event, here's a guy who won't have too much trouble deciphering man-free coverage stuff in the playbook. Best of luck, Mr. (or should we say Dr.) Rolle.