Rolle embraces return to Ravens

WESTMINSTER -- The football field has become a sanctuary for Samari Rolle, a hundred yards where he can escape his grief for a few hours each day. Two weeks after his father, Harry Rolle, died of a sudden heart attack, the Baltimore Ravens' cornerback is finding comfort in the camaraderie of his teammates and by keeping busy with the physical and mental demands of his profession at training camp.

"I think it will ease my mind and make me feel like one of the guys again," Rolle said Tuesday morning at McDaniel College. "Back in Miami, everybody was like, 'Sorry for your loss, you have my condolences.' That's kind of hard, because you're thinking about it every day."

Monday was a particularly trying time for Rolle. It was Harry Rolle's birthday.

Rolle had recently traveled with his father to the Bahamas to research the family tree, meeting several relatives for the first time.

"I checked on my mom and my brother and they went to the grave site," Rolle said. "I was supposed to go, but mostly I wasn't ready."

Rolle was so eager to get back to work that he dressed in his full uniform Monday morning only to learn that he had to take and pass a physical, including a running test he aced.

The former Pro Bowl selection performed individual drills Tuesday and is scheduled to resume full-scale workouts Saturday morning.

"It's great to have him back here," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "Besides him being a great player, he's a leader, a competitor and one of the most loyal guys I've ever been around.

"He loves football. It's a passion for him. His father loved watching him play. This is almost an extended family, and it's good for him to surround himself with these guys."

Ravens team owner Steve Bisciotti allowed general manager Ozzie Newsome, middle linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Derrick Mason and cornerback Chris McAlister to use his private jet to attend the funeral service in South Florida.

"He's a world-class owner," Rolle said. "From the time I've gotten here, he's been very supportive of different type of situations. I guess it shows everybody what type of owner he is, and more so, what type of person he is."

For Rolle, this personal tragedy caps an especially difficult past year.

Diagnosed with epilepsy last fall, he experienced several seizures and was limited to six games prior to being placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Once prevented from driving in the state of Maryland due to legal issues concerning his medical condition, Rolle is able to get himself to work again after relying on his wife, Danisha, and friends last season. His health is regulated by taking a regimen of several pills per week.

"God doesn't give you more than you can handle," Rolle said. "I think at the end of the day, I can turn this into a positive somehow, someway. Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.


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