Former Baltimore Ravens player John Urschel continues to make power plays off the field several years after retiring from the NFL. Urschel was recently hired as a professor of mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), according to a press release by the university.
The former NFL player is one of 16 new faculty members who joined MIT’s School of Science for the Fall 2023 semester. On his faculty bio page, Urschel shares that his area of interest “largely consists of topics in numerical linear algebra, spectral graph theory, and certain topics in theoretical machine learning.”
During his time in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, Urschel worked towards his Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT. While his teammates and colleagues knew he was pursuing a degree, they had no idea he was using his free time to publish six academic papers.
He made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for his work as an award-winning mathematician at 25 in 2017.
“I felt actually kind of guilty,” Urschel explained in a Sports Illustrated interview. “I was actually kind of ashamed of myself. I was doing math while playing, but I always prided myself on doing what I wanted to do and not budging on things.”
He was dedicated to football and mathematics and demonstrated his commitment to doing what he loved, even if it meant juggling two demanding pursuits.
However, after three seasons, Urschel eventually retired from the NFL in 2017 to pursue his passion for advanced theoretical mathematics. In 2021, he earned his Ph.D. from MIT, concentrating in matrix analysis and computations, emphasizing theoretical conclusions and assurances for practical situations.
ESPN reported that Urschel said he wanted to diversify the math field, where only seven percent of professors are Black. He aims to empower Black children to follow similar paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.