The family connection between former Titans Cornerback Samari Rolle and NFL Draft prospect Myron Rolle? Distant cousins, if at all.
Personal connection? Deep and centered on the game they share.
"Football has been a part of my life since I've been six years old," Myron Rolle said this weekend at the NFL Combine. "I really do enjoy the sport."
Myron Rolle enjoyed football so much, he wanted to talk football with another Sunshine State football standout Rolle. As a high school junior, Myron Rolle called Samari Rolle out of the blue. They soon began talking, as often as three or four times a week, as Myron decided to follow Samari to Florida State.
Samari Rolle's career at Florida State included 24 starts in 38 games, with 12 interceptions. Drafted by the Tennessee Oilers in 1998, Rolle spent seven seasons with the franchise, becoming a starting cornerback in 1999. Released after the 2004 season, Rolle has spent the time since with the Baltimore Ravens. For his career, Rolle picked off 31 passes, with 69 passes defensed.
Myron Rolle played safety as a Seminole, earning third team All American honors as a junior. His notoriety, however, came more from his work in the classroom than on the field. A Pre-Med major with a 3.75 GPA, Rolle left Florida State after his junior season after winning the Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford.
His year of study over, Myron Rolle wants to follow Samari Rolle again as a draft pick at April's selection meeting.
"I do want it, I want it as much as anybody who's out here right now," Myron Rolle said. I'm here to prove that by the way I can perform during the drills, running the 40-yard-dash, the bench press and doing everything. Competing, challenging myself and testing my mettle in front of all 32 NFL teams."
Few Rhodes Scholarship winners show up at the NFL Combine. And Rolle admitted that some teams have asked about his comittment to football after deciding to forego his senior season.
"My answer to them, which is a genuine and truthful answer, is that I think my pursuits academically have helped me in football," Rolle said. "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 can demonstrate to them my commitment and love for football by my actions and how I proceed in the next few months or so. I hope I'm able to convey that message with authenticity because it's really down deep in my heart football is a part of who I am."
Samari Rolle would likely be proud. The son of two teachers, Samari Rolle encouraged Myron Rolle during those weekly chats about academics as much as about athletics. Myron Rolle, considered a top 10 safety and a top 200 prospect overall, said Samari Rolle has mentored him leading up to this return to football.
"This is a very important time for me in this stage of my life and I'm looking forward to stepping up to the challenge," Myron Rolle said.