We’ve heard stories over the years about efforts by NFL scouts and/or coaches to rile up incoming players, in order to see how they’ll react to stressful situations. Last year, linebacker Aaron Curry told us about a Saints assistant who was barking at the players as if they were in boot camp.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports (via JoeBucsFan.com) reports that the Bucs tried to get under the skin of former Florida State safety Myron Rolle at the Senior Bowl by asking him “what it felt like to desert his team this season.”
Rolle spent 2009 studying at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, in lieu of exhausting his eligibility at Florida State.
“I hadn’t heard that one before,” Rollle told Cole. “My initial
reaction was a bit of confusion. It never was anger, but I was more
bothered by the question because if anyone knew my involvement with my
teammates, how much they care about me and how much I care about them.”
The idiocy of the question comes from the fact that it can be asked of every player who leaves college with any remaining eligibility. Of course, there’s a chance that the Bucs really don’t believe Rolle “deserted” his teammates, but that they simply wanted to try to throw him off.
The deeper concern is that Rolle’s unconventional streak could make it even harder for an NFL coach to properly control a room full of grown men, several of whom make more money than the NFL coach. Then there’s the fact that Rolle might be not only smarter than his teammates, but also smarter than his coaches.
It’s the kind of thing that makes control-obsessed football coaches very uneasy. If, after all, a player possesses the smarts to out think some or all of his coaches, the player could end up with far more power than any coach ever wants any player to have.
Then there’s the possibility that the guy who asked the question is just an asshole.