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Ex-'Nole back at football

Former Florida State safety Myron Rolle, back from almost a year in England after earning a master’s degree from Oxford, catches a pass during Tuesday’s Senior Bowl practice.

Associated Press

Former Florida State safety Myron Rolle, back from almost a year in England after earning a master’s degree from Oxford, catches a pass during Tuesday’s Senior Bowl practice.

MOBILE, Ala. — Myron Rolle has a pretty impressive Plan B if football doesn't work out.

The former Florida State safety is back from England after a year of studying at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship and joining fellow NFL hopefuls in trying to improve his draft stock at the Senior Bowl.

Rolle, who earned a master's degree in medical anthropology, plans to open a clinic for the needy in the Bahamas. But being a football player again is nice, too.

"I like being yelled at," Rolle said. "I like the pads popping. I like the smell of the grass."

Rolle, who completed his undergraduate degree in pre-med at FSU in 2½ years, put off an NFL career after winning the Rhodes scholarship in November 2008. He returned in mid December to start preparing for the NFL.

Chances are, he'll be the only player in the game who stayed in shape by playing rugby.

Rolle went through two-hour workouts with brother McKinley using a regimen designed by Orlando trainer Tom Shaw. And he boosted his conditioning by practicing with Oxford's rugby team. Rolle also attended class two days a week and wrote weekly 2,000-word essays.

"I had my essay broken down word for word, paragraph for paragraph, by these teachers," Rolle said. "I really had to defend my personal ideology on some of these things I was writing about. It was a different sort of learning. But I enjoyed it, and I learned a lot."

Maybe it also prepared him for the scrutiny prospects endure, from having every move on the field scrutinized to filling out team questionnaires.

"You have to look in the eyes of your teacher — I guess he'd be your opponent if you're on a football field — and really just sell your strengths, believe and have confidence in your own abilities and what you're passionate about," Rolle said. "That goes a long way. I think it helps not only in the classroom, but also on the field."

He said despite taking a year off from football, muscle memory took over quickly once practice began Monday for Saturday's game.

"I'm ready to backpedal. I'm ready to break. I'm ready to hit someone," Rolle said. "As soon as I did it once, I was okay."

Rolle said he missed football while at Oxford. He was thousands of miles away when his former FSU teammates were dealing with a 7-6 season and the retirements of coach Bobby Bowden and defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.

"I wanted to be a part of that last go-around for those coaches," Rolle said. "I saw the way our team competed this year and played, and we underachieved. We definitely underachieved. Now I'm back, and I feel good about being out here again."

Ex-'Nole back at football 01/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 10:17pm]
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