ESPN’s Outside the Lines ran a story Sunday morning about Myron Rolle, the Florida State defensive back who became a Rhodes Scholar and is now a prospect in the 2010 NFL draft.
The whole segment is worth watching, and the companion piece by Wright Thompson at ESPN.com is worth reading, but the Outside the Lines segment ended on an odd note, citing ESPN’s draft experts as saying Rolle’s off-field pursuits would actually hurt his stock among NFL teams.
The thinking, according to ESPN, is that NFL teams want to draft guys who need to play football and want to study nothing more than a playbook — not guys like Rolle, who wants to become a doctor and enjoys studying the latest developments in stem cell research. The report said Rolle has dealt with this mentality before when his defensive coordinator at Florida State, Mickey Andrews, told Rolle that he was spending too much time on school and not enough time on football.
It’s kind of a sad commentary: After a great piece about what a fine young man Rolle is, ESPN felt the need to point out that being a fine young man could, in Rolle’s case, actually count against him on NFL teams’ draft boards.
But it’s surely true that Rolle could decide at any time to walk away from football and find greater success in another field. As far as NFL teams are concerned, that’s not a good quality in a draft prospect.