via Football Foundation
via Football Foundation

We’ve had lots of stories about Ravens getting arrested over the past couple years, so it’s only fitting that we also point out when one of the team’s big guys does something really smart off the field. Offensive lineman John Urschel had his mathematics paper published in an academic journal.

My paper, A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector…, has been published in the Journal of Computational Mathematics

— John Urschel (@JohnCUrschel) March 18, 2015

Just in case you weren’t clear on what it was about from the title, the abstract adds that the paper also considers “the related cascadic multigrid method in the geometric setting for elliptic eigenvalue problems and show its uniform convergence under certain assumptions.” Got that? No? Well, just trust him. After all, the study is peer reviewed. And, Urschel has other published papers.

Urschel’s Twitter account shows his love for Pi on 3-14 and curiosity about dynamic mean field theory. It also reveals that he’s a fan of Broad City and Hannibal Buress. In other words, let us know when you’re free to hang out, John.

All that might lead you to question why he plays a sport that’s been tied to brain damage. Well, the math paper wasn’t the only article Urschel published this week. In The Players’ Tribune, the 302-pound lineman reflects on why he chooses to play football in the wake of fellow football player Chris Borland’s decision to retire at the age of 21.

Urschel acknowledges that “playing a hitting position in the NFL can’t possibly help your long-term health.” But despite his love of algorithms and lack of need for income, Urschel writes that he can’t stop.

“There’s a rush you get when you go out on the field, lay everything on the line and physically dominate the player across from you,” he writes. “This is a feeling I’m (for lack of a better word) addicted to, and I’m hard-pressed to find anywhere else.”

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.