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

Continuing to prove he is one of the most unusual (and impressive) players in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel announced via Twitter that he will be starting a PhD in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this year, ESPN reported.

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

If you’ve been following Urschel’s career, you’d know that he has a well documented history of being a stereotype-breaking football player.

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

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

In a recent interview with the American Mathematical Society (AMS), he explained that he reads mathematics during his free time on NFL road trips.

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

“If I’m thinking about maths 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 maths, it’s all encompassing and I’m 100% in it, and there’s really nothing else to think about when I’m doing maths,” 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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