Sports

An NFL player is starting a math PhD program at MIT in his offseason

In this Feb. 22, 2014, file photo, Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. Urschel will routinely provide a look at his journey leading to the NFL draft on May 8 in a series of diary entries. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)AP Photo/Michael ConroyJohn Urschel.

Continuing to show he is one of the more unusual (and impressive) players in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel announced via Twitter his plan to start his Ph.D. in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this year, ESPN reported.

Put another way, the 24-year-old, 305-pound lineman got into the No. 1 ranked graduate school for mathematics, all while having a full-time job in a field other than math.

Urschel has a well-documented history of being a stereotype-breaking football player.

Starting my PhD in math at MIT this offseason!!! pic.twitter.com/vjcSctVx9i

— John Urschel (@JohnCUrschel) January 26, 2016

He earned his bachelor’s degree in three years at Penn State and spent his senior year working on a master’s degree in mathematics while being paid by Penn State to teach Integral Vector Calculus Trigonometry.

He won the “Academic Heisman” in 2013, an honor given to college football’s top scholar-athlete.

In a recent interview with the American Mathematical Society, he said he read mathematics during his free time traveling for NFL road games.

He noted, however, that his ability to separate football from math was one of self-preservation.

“If I’m thinking about math on the football field, this is going to get me killed,” he told AMS.

“So that’s just survival instinct. And when I’m doing math, it’s all-encompassing and I’m 100% in it, and there’s really nothing else to think about when I’m doing math,” he said. “I love mathematics, I love the elegance, I love the challenge, and so that’s been natural for me.”

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