Ravens' Rolle relishes return to the field

Cornerback is able to overcome epilepsy

Ravens Gameday

November 26, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

SAN DIEGO -- Among the scowls that painted the Ravens' locker room, there was one player who managed a brief smile - cornerback Samari Rolle.

Despite his part in the Ravens' 32-14 loss to San Diego, Rolle took satisfaction in showing he could play with epilepsy.

Rolle, who disclosed last week that he has the neurological condition, played in his first game since suffering his third major seizure in the regular season Nov. 2.

"Mentally I was fine; now, I've just got to get my body to catch up with my head," said Rolle, who was unaware of his condition before this season. "Even though we lost, it was a good feeling to be out there with my teammates and compete."

Rolle, 31, missed three straight games in the first half of the season after he had two seizures but returned to play two games in October. Then, after his third seizure, Rolle said that he thought his career could be over.

It took another three weeks before specialists found the right medication for Rolle, who told coaches that he wanted to come back and play.

"I thought he played great," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The courage that you show when you come out under those circumstances and play gets lost in this game sometimes. I have huge admiration for Samari Rolle and his passion for wanting to continue to play."

Rolle finished with five tackles but didn't break up a pass.

The Chargers seemed to stay away from him early, throwing just one pass to his side on their first five drives. But on the sixth, they passed at Rolle four times, including one for a touchdown.

In single coverage with Chris Chambers, Rolle slipped and allowed the Chargers receiver to run free for a 5-yard touchdown catch that put San Diego ahead 19-7 with 25 seconds left in the first half.

"He just had a lot of time. ... I don't know how long I was covering him," Rolle said. "He made a good play, [so] we move on."

Rolle's teammates were proud of his effort.

"[Rolle playing] shows his heart and his passion for the game," safety Ed Reed said. "For Samari to step up with Chris [McAlister] out, it says a lot about him."

Rolle said the support from his teammates keeps him going.

"It means a lot," Rolle said. "I play for my defensive coaches and teammates."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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