Baltimore Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle on Wednesday identified the previously undisclosed illness that has caused him to miss six games this season, and hospitalized him for a short time, as epilepsy.
"I've heard all kind of rumors of what I had," Rolle told The Baltimore Sun after the team's Wednesday afternoon practice. "It's been hard on my wife and my family. I'm just happy to be back playing."
Rolle said he has suffered three seizures this season and believes that he may actually have suffered fewer serious seizures over the past 2½ years.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition which can be related to brain injury or family tendency, but in many cases the cause is unknown. Seizures can vary in intensity and severity based on the individual case. There is an increasing range of medical options to treat the disorder.
It is not known exactly when Rolle, 31, was diagnosed.
The 10-year veteran started the first two games of the season, then missed three contests with what the team announced as an undisclosed illness. He returned for two more games, but has missed Baltimore's past three outings. Rolle is practicing this week and expected to start Sunday's game at San Diego.
When Rolle was first absent from the lineup, coach Brian Billick said the cornerback had suffered an adverse reaction to the medication he was taking for the illness. It can be hard at the outset of treatments, medical journals and epilepsy-related Web sites report, to arrive at the correct medication and dosage levels.
Team officials have steadfastly declined to discuss Rolle's condition in any detail.
Rolle said Wednesday that the condition is now under control and cited that as the reason for revealing the nature of his illness.
"Now, I'm not scared," he said.
In his four appearances this season, Rolle has 13 tackles, one interception and two passes defensed. For his career, Rolle, who made the Pro Bowl in 2000, has appeared in 136 games and has 470 tackles, 28 interceptions and 110 passes defensed.
Before this season, Rolle, who entered the league as a second round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 1998, had missed only 12 games.
Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.