There has been a long standing stigma attached to student athletes considering them more "athlete" than "student." Former Tennessee Titan, Myran Rolle, broke that mold when he postponed his dreams of playing in the NFL by accepting a Rhode scholarship and attending Oxford university.
"I love the design of student athletes because they're natural born leaders," said Rolle. "They're exceptional people. There are a lot of bright student athletes that do well in the classroom and on the field who we need to exalt, rather than some of the negative stories that we hear in sports."
Myron spoke to a large crowd at the Strand Union Building at Montana State Monday night as part of MSU's "Year of Engaged Leadership Project." Many Bobcat coaches and athletes were in attendance eager to hear the success story of a professional athlete, future neurosurgeon and Rhode scholar.
"Montana State is a great university," said Rolle. "This leadership institute that they have here really just speaks to what I've tried to do my entire life."
Rolle was especially excited to speak to the football team, with hopes they realize the work on the field is just as important as the work off the field.
"Nothing can beat had work," he said. "Some people are talented. Some people aren't. Some people can run fast, some people cannot. But if you work hard that is the unadulterated, unequivocal equalizer for all things."
Myron noted that some of the smartest athletes in the NFL are also some of the top performers.
"Everyone can hit hard, everyone is strong," said Rolle. "The guys that make the better plays are the ones who can think a little faster or maybe can react a little faster. I would encourage the football team to really know the game, study it. That way when you go to the next level you are able to intercept Peyton Manning or something like that. He's gonna think twelve steps ahead, maybe you have to think thirteen."
Myron had never visited Montana before Monday, but says despite the cold it was a very memorable trip.
"It's a little colder than Florida," Rolle laughed. "I expect to see some mountains. I don't see that in Florida so that would be pretty neat. I'm just excited to be here. This is an amazing place, very picturesque. If I ever take a vacation I'm definitely going to consider Montana."