When I go to Media Night (Monday night) at the U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, I generally want to interview someone who really stands out - not on the field, but off it.
Last year, my "must-have" interview was Ole Miss tackle Michael Oher, as he was the subject of the best selling book The Blind Side and went from being a homeless adolescent coming from a tough background to being a first-round pick.
You just don't go to Mobile and not interview Michael Oher - nobody was more intriguing to me.
This year, I hit another home run. There is no doubt that I have always had respect Florida State safety Myron Rolle and certainly saw him as a role model for children and teenagers. His academic accomplishments are extremely impressive as he was a decorated student at Florida State, then accepted the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study for one year at Oxford University. Not many players get the chance (or shall I say - "earn" the chance) to do what he did, and that's what makes him such a unique player in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Like Oher, Rolle is a one-in-a-million - and you don't leave Mobile without interviewing him.
Matt McGuire: I love to start out my interview with the most serious of questions. What is your Super Bowl prediction?
Myron Rolle: I like the Colts. The Colts have a very young, fast defense - that I like. They are all very aggressive and fly to the football. Obviously, Peyton Manning is tremendous and a future Hall of Famer. I think the coach
has something to prove as well. This is the first time he has taken a team this far - the first time he has been a head coach and he's got a lot on this game. I think they have all the factors lined up to do well.
McGuire: Who did you idolize growing up as a football player?
Rolle: I idolized Deion Sanders - "Primetime." He's part of the reason why I started playing defensive back. I used to do his dance when I scored touchdowns when I was in the backyard
or Pop Warner games, so definitely "Primetime."
***Side note: Deion Sanders also went to Florida State - you don't think that's partially why Rolle chose FSU?
McGuire: One of the reasons I am interviewing you is obviously because you went to Oxford and took the Rhodes Scholarship - I think that's an amazing accomplishment. How would you describe
your experience in Oxford?
Rolle: My experience was tremendous. I had the opportunity to meet some fascinating people. I traveled often. I went through my medical anthropology courses with incredible insight on issues
that were pertinent to not only the local community in Britain, but also the global community. It was a tremendous opportunity and I'm really glad I took the Rhodes scholarship and studied for a year at Oxford.
McGuire: You haven't played football in a year. Where are you training?
Rolle: I'm training with Tom Shaw in Orlando at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.
McGuire: How are you dealing with the rust factor? It's a high level of competition in Mobile.
Rolle: I think the rust lasted maybe about five minutes until I got my first hit in - then after that it was back to being natural. It was back to being the player I was last year, the year before that, and the year before that. I'm very excited the way things worked out today; tomorrow is another challenge and I'm looking forward to it.
McGuire: What would you say your strengths as a football player are?
Rolle: I'd say my strengths are aggressiveness, accountability, as well as being a cerebral athlete.
McGuire: If there is one thing in your game you would like to improve, what would that be?
Rolle: One thing I would like to improve is my hands. I got my hands on a couple balls when I was at Florida State and I wanted to make sure if that ever happens again I would bring it in for an interception and not just knock it down for a pass
McGuire: At the Combine or here in Mobile in an interview, if a team asked you about your dedication to the game, how would you respond?
Rolle: I would tell them that the fact that I took a year off from my books to continue to practice and train at 7:00 every morning. The fact that I had opportunities to travel to Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Italy, every weekend. The fact that I had a stipend to do all this and had the means, but I continue to work hard and prepare for this moment here at the Senior Bowl as well as the Combine... It shows my passion, dedication and commitment to the game of football. I hope to show that through my participation, but also
through my ability on the field.
McGuire: This is the part of the interview where I ask triangle numbers and I get a players' height, weight, and 40 time, but I have to know - what will you get on your Wonderlic score at the Combine?
McGuire: You're a pretty smart guy. I want to hear high expectations.
Rolle: The quarterback from Harvard I think got a 50/50 so I think I need to get in the 40s just to be OK and not get harassed by some of my friends.
McGuire: A specific "40?"
Rolle: Forty is fine. Forty would be outstanding - even 35 would be great, but I am shooting for somewhere in the 40s.
McGuire: Thanks a lot for the interview, Myron. Good luck on Draft Day.
Interesting comparison. If the excuses are true then I'd say this could definitely be the next Jay Cutler. Like a lot of athletes with talent and a drive to win, they can forget that they play on a team with egos/emotions and that it only takes one comment to throw shadow on dedication to one's task at hand. Comments about team or based in criticism can undermine the most heart-felt warrior and actually distract you with doing the two things they all strive for: improving and winning.