Here’s an unlikely alternative career for a scientist: Playing safety in the National Football League. Recent Rhodes Scholar and former Florida State Uiversity (FSU) standout Myron Rolle may just make it happen. This weekend the Tennesse Titans chose Rolle in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL draft making him the 207th overall pick.
As we reported in January 2009, at FSU, in Tallahassee, Rolle excelled in the classroom and lab and on the playing field, completing his undergraduate work in 2 1/2 years with a 3.75 GPA. At FSU, he conducted research on metabolic characteristics of human mesenchymal stem cells, for which he received Florida State’s 2008 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award.
Rolle passed on the 2009 NFL draft, choosing instead to accept a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University in the U.K., where he studied medical anthropology but worked out daily to stay in condition. Last summer, the U.S. Department of the Interior recruited Rolle to help design a health, fitness, and diabetes awareness program for American Indian youth.
Rolle’s story may make great copy, but the fact he has options other than football led some NFL scouts to question his commitment to the game. Rolle helped answer those questions in the NFL Scouting Combine, a group skills competition for rookie prospects in February and March, where even with the one-year layoff he was competitive in the workouts.
At the combine, Rolle told Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports he saw no conflict between his academic and athletic pursuits. “You learn discipline, you learn time management,” Rolle told Farrar. “You learn structure, you learn organization, and as a football player those are obviously valuable assets and traits you can use to be great ….”