Veteran teammate inspired Antrel Rolle

Posted Jan 23, 2013

Safety Antrel Rolle knows the effect of playing for a veteran teammate

Antrel Rolle doesn’t think Ray Lewis’ effect on the Super Bowl-bound Ravens is being overstated. In fact, it may be more so than what people think or realize because Rolle knows what it is like playing for a veteran teammate whose NFL days days are drawing to a close.


Just like the Ravens are making sure Lewis goes out with a bang, Rolle made sure fellow safety Deon Grant did so a year ago. It all started with the Week 15 home loss to the Redskins in 2011 when defensive coordinator Perry Fewell called Rolle into his office and broke it down for him.

“He asked the question, he was like, ‘Deon Grant, that’s your boy, right, that’s your brother?’" Rolle recalled on WFAN’s “Joe and Evan” on Tuesday. “I’m like ‘absolutely.’ He says, ‘So how many chances do you think Deon has to compete in another Super Bowl or be on a team of this caliber?’ When he said that, I mean, at that point in time, I wasn’t too fond of playing the nickel position and so forth and so on. But at that point in time, it went outside of myself, it went outside of my own selfish reasons, it went outside of me going out there and doing the best I can do for me.

“It went to ‘Let’s get him his opportunity, I’m going to do this for Deon, I’m going to try to be the best player I can be for Deon to make sure he goes out with a bang.' And I think that’s [Baltimore’s] mentality at this point. Ray Lewis is their leader. Ray Lewis is the firepower behind the team, so they want him to definitely go out with a bang.”

After the conversation with Fewell, Rolle and the Giants never lost a game en route to winning Super Bowl XLVI. It wasn’t the only heart-to-heart that Rolle has drawn from in his three seasons with the Giants.

When he was admittedly having a difficult time adapting to Tom Coughlin’s “ways” after leaving the Cardinals in 2010, Rolle reached out to Lewis, and not just because both players are University of Miami products. Rolle wanted to talk to someone who had been through it all.

“I got his number and I called him, and I just asked him, ‘Ray, how should I handle this situation?’” Rolle said. “I was like it’s extremely difficult for me, I’m not used to this and so forth and so on. And we had an hour-long conversation just about life. He was telling me how I should approach the situation, how I should be able to deal with coach Coughlin but still get some things across. I mean, he helped me out a lot and I listened to what he said and it helped me out a lot. If you’ve ever been around Ray Lewis, man, he’s probably the most humble individual and real individual you’re ever going to be around. And that’s just the reality of it.”

As for Super Bowl predictions, Rolle didn’t necessarily have one but said, “I think the Ravens are due. When you look at certain things and how certain things have taken place throughout the course of this year for the Ravens, I think they’re due. I think it definitely goes to the higher power than just the football gods. I think they’re due.”

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