OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - Baltimore Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle was on the inactive list for six games this season. His malady was described by the team with one word: illness.
Rolle used a different word Wednesday to explain his absence, one that addressed his situation far more specifically.
Epilepsy.
Rolle kept it a secret for two months because he had trouble finding the right medication to keep his disorder in check.
``It's under control now. That's the main thing,'' he said. ``Right now, I'm not scared.''
The 31-year-old Rolle was unaware of his condition, even though he had unknowingly experienced minor seizures for around two years. During the third week of September, however, he had one major seizure. Then another.
Rolle missed three straight games. Tormented by seizures, headaches and memory loss, the 10-year veteran wondered if his career was over.
``I didn't know if I could play, if I would be all right or anything,'' he said. ``It was very scary.''
Rolle was provided medicine from a specialist, which seemed to do the trick. He returned to play for two straight weeks, and then it happened again: another seizure.
``I was like, 'Man, what's the problem?''' Rolle said.
The problem was that the medication wasn't right. His prescription has since been corrected, and now he's ready to resume his career, even if the Ravens have a losing record and very little chance of reaching the playoffs.
``I'm very excited. The season hasn't gone like we wanted it, and most people ask me, 'Why are you coming back? You're 4-6.''' he said. ``These are my teammates and I love playing. It's time to come back. I can play, I can continue to play, and I can do so as long as I'm healthy.''
The Ravens worked hard to find Rolle the right doctor, and kept his condition a secret at Rolle's request. Incredibly, amid all the speculation and rumors, his situation was never made public.
``I just want to thank everybody that knew I had epilepsy but didn't come out and say anything about it, respecting me and my family,'' Rolle said. ``(The Ravens) did everything they could; told me I didn't even have to come back. I really appreciated that. Now it's time to turn things around.''
His return was made easier by the knowledge that Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Alan Faneca has overcome epilepsy to play in the NFL.
``He's had epilepsy since he was 15 and he's probably the best guard in football. I feel very good knowing what I know now,'' Rolle said. ``Anything is possible. The people from my foundation right now are finding people we can contact just to let people know it doesn't stop you. It (stinks) not being able to drive right now, but besides that, everything's good.''
The Ravens are delighted to have Rolle back, and not just because he's one of the better cornerbacks in the league.
``As a player and a friend, playing with Samari basically my whole career, to see him go through that was hard,'' said wide receiver Derrick Mason, a teammate of Rolle's with the Tennessee Titans. ``I'm just happy that he's able to come back out here and enjoy football. To me, it doesn't matter whether he plays another down or not, just that he's OK. That's all that matters to me, I think that's all that matters to everyone else in the locker room, that's he's still able to come out here and enjoy the guys out here and be with us.''

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