Football has always been secondary for former NFL safety and Florida State All-American Myron Rolle, and that approach to life really paid off on Friday when he learned he would start his residency in neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School.

“Seven years of neurosurgery is a big deal, something I wanted for a long time, really excited about it. Today is just great, it’s remarkable,” Rolle told WCTV in Tallahassee. “… Saving lives and helping people live a better life, that’s going to make life worth living.”

Rolle completed his pre-med work at FSU in two-and-a-half years with a 3.75 GPA. Then he put off the NFL draft to attend Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He famously arrived late to a game against Maryland in order to interview for the Rhodes scholarship.

After studying for a year in the UK and earning a degree in medical anthropology, he was drafted in the sixth round by the Tennessee Titans in 2010. Two seasons in Tennessee was followed by stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers before retiring in 2012 and turning his attention toward his true passion: Medicine.

He enrolled in medical school and started the Myron L. Rolle Foundation to provide health, wellness, and educational opportunities to children and families in need throughout the world.

He says his football experience has helped groom him for an exciting career in medicine.

“I think I’ve been trained and built to have good discipline…to overcome adversity, to strategize and prepare, and a lot of those same lessons I learned from practice and playing my sport, I’m using now in the operating room when there’s a pressure situation,” Rolle told SportsCenter. “When we get into an artery that we’re not supposed to get into, and there’s a bleed and we need to control it, can I go back to my fundamentals? Take a breath, try to figure this out; communicate with everybody, and do the best I possibly can for the patient that’s on the table. I’m using the same traits I developed during my football career in the operating room, and it’s made the transition quite seamless.”

Rolle will start his residency at Mass General on July 1.