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)