While casually scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I happened to stumble upon a post from the Italian Football League (IFL) team, The Lazio Marines. What caught my eye was a man decked out in Rutgers gear that definitely was not Chas Dodd or J.T. Tartacoff, the two former RU players who had short stints with the Marines. I just happened to be looking at former defensive end and captain, David Milewski.
Loosely translated, the Facebook post states: "Continuing the "Scarlet Connection," the path from New Jersey to Lazio, The Marines welcomed to Rome a truly excellent character from the landscape of NCAA Football last season, captain of the Rutgers Football team: Dave Milewski. He was an athletic symbol for one of the most prestigious universities in the US. He received honors as the best student athlete in the college for the past two years, All-State Defensive team, and Allstate AFCA Good Works team for his efforts on and off the field. He arrived yesterday and we were honored to have his presence at the workouts due to friendly and compassionate personality, he is curious to find out as much as possible about football overseas. He will be with us until the end of the month and anyone who wants to meet him can do so next Sunday at our home game vs the Ferrara Eagles. In the mean time, here is his video greeting. Fight on!'
Milewski decided to walk away from the game of football with one year of eligibility left. He stated that he was simply ready for the next chapter in his life. No one can blame him, for he is as resilient as anyone in the country and has certainly given every last bit of him to Rutgers Football. Milewski suffered 3 torn ACLs throughout his college career and still maintained a 3.9 GPA while earning First Team Academic All-America.
Milewski seemed primed for great success off the football field, which is why this surprised me. It seems like he is just visiting the team but it is not everyday you take a trip to Lazio just to hang out and watch some American football. In addition, Dodd and Tartacoff aren't listed on the team's official roster, making this occurrence even more interesting.
The rising popularity of "American Football" in Italy is fascinating to me and I would only be more interested to see more good guys from the great state of Rutgers help the sport grow overseas.