Myron Rolle isn't used to standing on the sidelines.
For most of his life, the Galloway Township native has been in the spotlight, whether he was performing in school plays, starring for Florida State University's football team or earning a Rhodes Scholarship to study medicine at Oxford University.
As a member of the Tennessee Titans' practice squad, however, he'll be watching Sunday's game against the Eagles at LP Field clad in a warmup suit instead of a uniform.
"It's a unique situation for me," Rolle, 23, said in a phone interview from Nashville on Thursday. "I wouldn't say everything has always been easy for me, but I am used to enjoying immediate success. It's been a humbling experience."
Rolle was ranked by ESPN as the nation's No. 1 recruit as a senior at the Hun School in Princeton. When he signed with Florida State, it was big news. He started every game but one for the Seminoles. He arrived late to a 2008 game at Maryland because he was interviewing for the Rhodes Scholarship, which he later was awarded.
He took a year-long sabbatical from football to study medical anthropology at Oxford, but fully expected to pick up his career where he left off. Despite solid performances at the NFL Combine and Florida State's predraft Pro Day, he slid in the draft. The Titans took him with the final pick of the sixth round, 207th overall.
Various draft experts opined that teams had questioned Rolle's commitment to football and actually thought he may be too intelligent to play a sport in which brawn sometimes is preferred over brains.
"Not true," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said in a phone interview. "Taking a year off, winning the Rhodes Scholarship, none of those things came into play for us.
"We drafted Myron because we think he has a bright future in this league. We could tell the game is important to him and that he wants to give the NFL a shot. And the fact that he's very smart is a bonus."
Rolle's immediate past and present have been a little rough.
Upon being drafted, he expected to earn a spot on the active roster as a safety and special-teamer, and make an immediate contribution for the Titans. But he soon discovered that the year away from the game had affected him. The Titans released him as part of their final roster cuts on Sept. 4, before re-signing him to the practice squad the next day.
"Taking a year off did hurt me from a football standpoint," Rolle said. "I was a little rusty. Now I'm trying to be strong and physical in practice each day and trying to get some of those instincts back that I lost. At first I was a little frustrated, but now I'm using it as motivation and a challenge."
Watching Sunday's game presents another challenge. Rolle grew up as an Eagles fan in Galloway Township. Quarterback Randall Cunningham and cornerback Bobby Taylor were his favorite players.
While at the Hun School, he attended some high school combines with current Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who starred at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa. Rolle played with Eagles rookie safety Nate Allen and cornerback Trevard Lindley at the Senior Bowl.
"I still like seeing the Eagles do well, but definitely not this week," Rolle said with a laugh. "At the end of the day, I'm a Titan."
And he intends to be a Titan for a while.
Rolle said he hopes to be promoted to the active roster at some point this season, but if not, he'll go into next season intent on achieving that goal.
What he won't do is quit. He still aspires to be a neurosurgeon, but not until he's finished what he believes will be a long and distinguished NFL career.
"I still get that question every once in a while," Rolle said. "People will come up to me and say, 'You don't need this. Why are you still here?' But giving up football honestly never crossed my mind. I still want to do all that other stuff later on. But I still have football in my heart.
"It was always a goal of mine to be an NFL player, and I am one. It's always been a goal of mine to be a great NFL player, and I'm not one, yet. Hopefully, three or four years from now, when the Eagles play the Titans again, I'll be at that level."
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