Too Smart For the Coach?

Myron Rolle, an excellent defensive back and a Rhodes Scholar

Myron Rolle was a defensive back for the Florida State football team.  On Saturday afternoon, he took part in the annual NFL pre-draft combine, which tests college players in physical and mental skills to determine who is ready to play in the National Football League.

Rolle is resuming playing football after an one-year break.  There isn’t anything wrong with him.  He’s never ran afoul of the law, spent time in rehab, or did anything to make anyone mad.

Except for some NFL scouts and teams.

What did he do wrong?

He went to Oxford to work on his post-graduate studies.

In case if you don’t follow college football, Myron Rolle is a Rhodes Scholar.  And he plays football.  Rolle is in an elite group of Rhodes Scholars which includes Bill Bradley, Byron White, Bill Clinton, and Bobby Jindal, and former Drake women basketball standout Lindsay Whorton. Whorton is the latest Iowan to become a Rhodes Scholar.  Both Rolle and Whorton are in the 2009 class.

Lindsay Whorton starred at Drake and is a Rhodes Scholar.

Sorry, Al Gore wasn’t a Rhodes Scholar, so he doesn’t get credit for the invention of the Internet (sarcasm invoked).

Rolle should not have any problems seguing from spending a year at Oxford to the NFL.  Bill Bradley went from Oxford to the NBA and won a NBA title with the New York Knicks.

However, there are some teams who are, shall we say, “brain-dead” when it comes to how they are dealing with Rolle.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for one, is receiving some criticism for the stupid questions they asked him.

Here’s one for example:

During a 45-minute interview before the Senior Bowl in January with seven members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff, including head coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik, one member of the staff asked Rolle “what it felt like to desert his team this season.”

Are you serious?  Rolle didn’t desert his team.  He graduated from college.  His college eligibility ended.  Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com succinctly put it this way:

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.

To question Myron’s intelligence and whether he’s smarter than the coaches is outrageous.  Ask Peyton Manning.  How many scouts questioned Manning’s smarts before he was drafted?  Or did that not matter, solely because Manning is a quarterback, and he has to be the smartest position player on the field?

Does it matter that Myron is smarter than everyone else in the locker room?  Will that scare teams away?  Tell everyone what you think on the blog.

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