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Monday, October 9, 2023

Former NFL Player For Baltimore Ravens is Now a Math Professor at MIT

John Urschel

Nationwide —  Former Baltimore Ravens player John Urschel has made a remarkable career pivot after retiring early from the NFL at the age of 26. Urschel is now a math professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

While playing in the NFL, Urschel pursued his Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT. Surprisingly, he managed to publish six academic papers during his football career, a fact not widely known among his teammates and colleagues.

In 2017, Urschel earned a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for his outstanding work in mathematics at just 25 years old.

He was truly dedicated to both football and mathematics, demonstrating his commitment by juggling these demanding pursuits.

“I felt actually kind of guilty,” Urschel told Sports Illustrated. “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.”

In 2017, after three NFL seasons, Urschel retired to fully pursue his passion for advanced theoretical mathematics. In 2021, he completed his Ph.D. at MIT, focusing on matrix analysis and computations, with a strong emphasis on theoretical applications for real-world situations.

Now, Urschel was hired as one of the 16 new faculty members in MIT’s School of Science for the Fall 2023 semester. On his faculty bio page, he mentioned his interests in numerical linear algebra, spectral graph theory, and certain aspects of theoretical machine learning.

Moreover, Urschel reportedly aspires to increase diversity in the field of mathematics, where only seven percent of professors are Black. His goal is to inspire young Black students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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