Bloomberg - John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, recently co-authored a paper in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. It is titled “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians” and apparently includes “a cascadic multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian, namely, the eigenvector corresponding to the second smallest eigenvalue.” I understand close to none of the words in that sentence, which comes from the paper’s abstract. I probably never will. The rest of the study is similarly accessible. Urschel, who was drafted in 2014 to block for Joe Flacco, had a 4.0 grade point average at Penn State and has been published in several mathematical journals. He is also an accomplished chess player
Turn down for what?! What an offseason thrill ride for John Urschel. Lifts some weights, watches some tape, publishes a multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian. All in a day’s work. Kind of unfortunate that in 4 years he won’t remember publishing it, so it’s good that he’s getting all his smart people shit out of the way now before his brain turns to mashed potatoes.
But actually, Urschel wrote a pretty great piece about why he still plays football, as a response to Chris Borland retiring.
Objectively, I shouldn’t. I have a bright career ahead of me in mathematics. Beyond that, I have the means to make a good living and provide for my family, without playing football. I have no desire to try to accumulate $10 million in the bank; I already have more money in my bank account than I know what to do with. I drive a used hatchback Nissan Versa and live on less than $25k a year. It’s not because I’m frugal or trying to save for some big purchase, it’s because the things I love the most in this world (reading math, doing research, playing chess) are very, very inexpensive.
I play because I love the game. I love hitting people. There’s a rush you get when you go out on the field, lay everything on the line and physically dominate the player across from you. This is a feeling I’m (for lack of a better word) addicted to, and I’m hard-pressed to find anywhere else. My teammates, friends and family can attest to this: When I go too long without physical contact I’m not a pleasant person to be around. This is why, every offseason, I train in kickboxing and wrestling in addition to my lifting, running and position-specific drill work. I’ve fallen in love with the sport of football and the physical contact associated with it.
That’s maybe the two coolest paragraphs ever that were written by the same guy. His favorite hobbies are chess and doing research but he’s addicted to hitting people. This guy is going to win Super Bowls with the Ravens and then cure cancer, the two best things you can possibly do while on Earth.