John Urschel NFL Player Accepted into a Math PhD Program at MIT

January 28, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

NFL player John Urschel
Photo credit: Screen capture from video by Tim Morehouse

What have you done lately?

Most NFL players takes a break during the offseason to recover from the draining and physical season that had just passed. But not for one man.

The graduate John Urschel who plays as an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL will be starting his PhD in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology during his offseason this coming year.

A tweet that went out to his followers shows some of his excitement:

In a question and answer interview with Stephen D. Miller of the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, Urschel was asked how he shuts off one part of his mind that thinks about mathematics all the time, in order to focus on a second interest: playing football in the NFL.

Urschel responded: “I think the difference is that if I’m thinking about math on the football field, this is going to get me killed. So that’s just survival instinct. And when I’m doing math, it’s all encompassing and I’m 100 percent in it, and there’s really nothing else to think about when I’m doing math. I love mathematics, I love the elegance, I love the challenge, and so that’s been natural for me.”

Urschel’s dedication to his passion for mathematics and football goes hand in hand. In combining his two passions, he has become a well-rounded individual who is climbing the ladder to success, not only on the football field but in the educational realm as well. As he points out in the video below during an interview in 2014, the perseverance he gained from playing football allowed him to gain discipline on and off the field. It has positively affected his learning abilities in education.


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