It's the most horrible time of the year.
That is, if you're a professional football player.
Instead of spurring four months of well-deserved relaxation and a chance to recover from a grueling season, the true offseason from February to May has spawned an epidemic of cabin fever. Relentless practices and bone-crunching Sunday afternoons are replaced with complete and utter freedom, turning professional athletes into simple human beings. It seems to be a tough transformation. Itching to fill the void, a number of NFL stars are struggling to stay out of trouble. From Adam "Pacman" Jones making it rain in a nightclub, to Ben Roethlisberger being accused of sexual assault for a second time, to Tiki Barber leaving his pregnant wife for a mistress, to Albert Haynesworth's recent alleged impregnation and abandonment of an exotic dancer, now is the time of year when being an NFL player shrivels from heroism to hedonism.
That is, unless you're Myron Rolle.
The Tennessee Titans rookie — more famous for his Rhodes scholarship than his 207 career tackles at Florida State — has shown those who felt he may be too smart to play safety that brains can win over brawn. A sixth-round draft pick, Rolle solidified himself as a member of the Nashville community, making two $1,000 donations to the victims of the Tennessee flooding disaster.
"It's very pertinent to help in a community," Rolle told The Associated Press. "This is my first way of doing so."
It certainly is pertinent, but it's hardly popular. While Vince Young has asked fans to make a $100 donation in exchange for some autographed goods and running back Chris Johnson is busy thanking supporters for Pay CJ2K, a website petitioning Tennessee GM Mike Reinfeldt to give him a new contract, Rolle is the only Titan to actually take the initiative and donate his own money to the relief effort.
Oh, did I mention that he has yet to sign a contract? He has as much money to his name as most students graduating college these days (right around zero), yet instead of hitting up the nearest club and "enjoying himself," Rolle opted to give back, an idea becoming far too foreign.
Sure, he is guaranteed to make that and a whole lot more just from his signing bonus — last year's 207th overall pick, New England Patriot Myron Pryor, was given a four-year, $1.8 million contract plus a $79,000 signing bonus. In other words, Rolle will be just fine financially.
But that's not the point.
The point is that, for once, a professional athlete is making headlines (albeit ones in small print) for the good he has done and not for a scandal. The point is that Rolle could have sat fat and happy in Nashville, spending money he didn't have on a Range Rover and a suave apartment, but didn't. The point is that he was aware of his surroundings, of what was happening to others not named Myron Rolle, and acted admirably.
The point is that in a time of year when football fans are used to hearing about their heroes involved in drugs, sex, and violence, Myron Rolle finally gave us someone to really cheer for.
Photo by Phil Coale / AP