52 Days: A Look Back At All-American Rod Payne

With only 52 days until the return of Michigan football, we look back at All-American Rod Payne. The Miami, Florida native was an impressive wrestler and offensive lineman before starting his football career. Below are his highlights and achievements:


  • He started 40 games during his four years at the University of Michigan, including 37 consecutive games.
  • He was twice named first team All-Big Ten.
  • In 1996, he was named the Most Valuable Player on the Michigan team, a team co-captain, along with Jarrett Irons, and a first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association.
  • During the Michigan-Michigan State game, he broke his right wrist and proceeded to snap the ball for the rest of his game with his left hand.


  • He was selected in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • He was a backup with the Bengals from 1997-1998 and was released in September 1998.
  • His playing career was shortened by numerous injuries.
  • He sat out the 1999 NFL season and had surgery on both knees.
  • He signed with the Baltimore Ravens in April 2000, then released at the end of training camp.
  • He signed to the Ravens’ 2000 practice squad in November then won a Super Bowl ring with them in Super Bowl XXXV.
  • Over the course of his career, Payne had twelve surgeries to repair his numerous football-related injuries.

Life After His Playing Years

  • In 2006, Payne co-authored a book called “Centered by a Miracle”  with his friend and sportswriter Steve Rom.
  • Payne served on the board of the Michigan Letterwinners M Club Alumni Association.
  • On March 13, 2009 he was announced as the new Defensive Line Coach at Florida Atlantic University.
  • He signed to coach Spanish River High School for the 2012 season.
  • His head coaching career timeline: 2006-2007 Westminster Academy (FL),
    2008 Felix Varela HS (FL), 2009–2011 Florida Atlantic (Defensive Line Coach),
    2012–present Spanish River HS (FL)

Go Blue!

David Noe