CEDAR RAPIDS – Jerad Rosburg can drop names with the best of them.
You have to ask him to do it. It’s not like he does it on his own.
The first-year Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defenseman has a father who is a longtime assistant coach in the National Football League. Jerry Rosburg coaches special teams for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, serving previous stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns.
That’ll get you introduced to some significant names.
“Ladarius Webb, their cornerback, is a good friend of mine,” Jerad Rosburg said. “(Kicker) Justin Tucker, Morgan Cox, the long snapper, Sam Koch, the punter. That’s my dad’s area, so I was around them a lot. Brendon Ayanbadejo, he retired this year, he was a friend of mine. Haloti Ngata actually came to one of my hockey games before. Everyone’s great.”
The RoughRiders (2-1) play a pair of road games this weekend: Thursday night at Fargo and Saturday night at Tri-City.
“I mean, I got to learn so much from being around those guys and seeing their work ethic,” Rosburg said. “The way they treat their bodies and get ready for the games and everything. How they prepare for games, how to handle yourself. I learned so much from that. It’s really been a blessing.”
Jerry Rosburg has been a friend of Ravens Coach John Harbaugh for years, which brings forth a local connection. John’s brother, Jim, is head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and was college roommates at the University of Michigan with local attorney Scott Chipokas.
Jerad has developed a friendship with Chipokas, not to mention a superstitious Ravens game-day routine.
“I go over to his house, and we watch the games together,” Jerad said. ”Every game we’ve gotten together they’ve won, so we’re (planning) to get together for as many games as we can.”
Now the obvious question here is how did Jerad Rosburg escape the clutches of football and end up playing hockey instead? The 17-year-old was a high pick of the RoughRiders in the 2013 United States Hockey League entry draft from the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets program.
“Actually, my dad grew up in Minnesota and is a big hockey fan,” Rosburg said. “He probably likes hockey more than he likes football, which is kind of funny. He really enjoys hockey. I played both of them growing up, but I didn’t play football too long. We were moving around a lot, and I had to pick one sport. It was hockey. I was a lot better at it, and it was a lot more fun.”
Rosburg has come to Cedar Rapids with a good hockey reputation. He played on a United States national team that took part in a tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia over the summer. He also committed to Michigan State University.
For more name dropping, Jerad knows Spartans basketball coach Tom Izzo real well. Izzo, former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci and Jerry Rosburg were roommates at one time early in their respective careers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
“I’ve talked to Jerad about being around the Ravens, being around pros. That’s definitely a positive for him,” said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson. “He’s a good, solid player. We think he’s a real good two-way defenseman. He’s physical, he’s tough with the puck, he skates well. He’s a young player, so he’s going to get way bigger, way stronger and develop into a real good player.”
Rosburg was limited in the preseason by a back injury and got into his first official game with the RoughRiders last Saturday against Dubuque. Expect to see his name in the lineup a lot more.
“It was exciting to get out there and be with the boys for the first time,” he said. “(Being injured) t was actually a good learning experience. I got to watch a lot of practice and learn from the guys without actually being out there on the ice. I almost look at it as a positive now. I mean, you never want to be injured, but you try and do the best you can in those situations and stuff. Yeah, I guess it was a little bit of a disadvantage for me. But once I got back out there and got a couple of practices in, I got right back into it.”
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