Injuries, Epilepsy End Baltimore Ravens CB Samari Rolle's Career

Daniel KablackCorrespondent IIIApril 13, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 10:  Cornerback Samari Rolle #22 of the Baltimore Ravens intercepts a pass alongside wide receiver Justin McCareins #19 of the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 10, 2009 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Maybe we could have seen this coming with all his injuries and the fact he missed the entire season last year.

But when the Baltimore Ravens announced Tuesday that they were terminating the contract of Samari Rolle, they inevitably cut ties to one of the greatest cornerbacks in league history.

And that's saying something.

13 years ago when Rolle first entered the league with the Tennessee Oilers as the 14th pick in the second round, many expected him to continue his ball-hawking ways like he did at Florida State.

His 24 starts as a Seminole earned him First team All-ACC Team honors and Football News' s Third Team All-American honors, as he recorded 111 tackles and 12 interceptions, four of which came against one of the school's rivals—the University of Miami.

Rolle didn't take long to make an impact in the NFL. His rookie season he played in 15 games, averaging two tackles per game.

In his second year, he blew up.

Accumulating 70 tackles, three sacks, and four interceptions—including a franchise record three interceptions against the Jacksonville Jaguars—Rolle was well on his way to becoming one of the star cornerbacks in the league.

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In his seven years with the Oilers/Titans he recorded nearly 300 tackles, 100 pass deflections, 8.5 sacks and 23 interceptions.

Rolle was released by the Titans at the end of the 2004 season and eventually was picked up by the Ravens in the spring of that year.

In his first year he brought with him 41 tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception and a few pass deflections.

But injuries and a traumatic experience would claim their toll, and Samari Rolle wouldn't quite be the same any longer.

During the offseason in 2007, Rolle was in South Africa on board a small commuter plane returning from a safari when the door at the back of the plane flew off. Rolle was accompanied by Jets cornerback Lito Sheppard and Patriots runningback Fred Taylor along with the players' wives.

The aircraft landed safely but the tramatic experience could have been a culprit in his downfall.

During the 2007 season he would miss five games due to an undisclosed illness. Many media stations claimed Rolle was being treated for seizures but no one could confirm the claim.

On November 17th 2007, Rolle announced to the media that he was undergoing treatment for Epilepsy. Due to his illness and injuries, his abilities on the field were hindered and his playing time cut down.

Dr. Bergey, director of Johns Hopkins' Epilepsy Center, says while it's unclear what triggered Rolle's epilepsy, anything that disrupts the normal pattern of brain activity like trauma could lead to the development of the brain disease.

His name is Samari, which means "strength," which is something you need a lot of when you're dealing with an illness like this.

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