Rodney McLeod signed a five-year, 37 million dollar deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in advance of the 2016 season. Previously an undrafted free agent, McLeod rose to Starting Safety and team leader for the St. Louis Rams before his move to the Eagles. Prior to joining the Rams, McLeod was a 4 year player and Captain at the University of Virginia and graduated with a degree in sociology. A native of Clinton, Maryland, McLeod was a standout at football powerhouse DeMatha Catholic High School where he was also a member of the 400-meter relay team.
McLeod was always a playmaker on both sides of the ball but first excelled on defense as a cornerback. He made the move to safety during his sophomore year at UVA and was also a major contributor on special teams. McLeod was named All-ACC Honorable Mention during his senior season including a breakout game where he totaled three interceptions within an 18 minute span.
Ultimately, it was McLeod’s versatility that drew the interest of NFL clubs. His ability to play safety and cornerback, as well as special teams, meant that he could he play in almost any system and contribute wherever needed. The Rams announced McLeod as the starting Free Safety and a Special Teams Captain for the upcoming season, less than one year removed from playing in his first NFL game. After the announcement, McLeod stated, “It feels good knowing that I’m going to be starting, but this is just the beginning. There’s a lot of work to be done… I’m here to work and help the team win games – period.”
McLeod exemplifies what it means to be a successful player in today’s NFL; constant work to improve on-the-field and using his success to make a difference off-the-field. This mindset has led McLeod to become involved with several community initiatives in the St. Louis area. Most notably, he serves as an ambassador for the STL Salvation Army and their annual “Tree of Lights” campaign, while also appearing in their PSAs on TV and radio. He is also a fixture at team events such as NFL Play60 and their work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Back home, McLeod hosts an annual Youth Football Camp at DeMatha. The free camp welcomes kids between the ages of 9 – 14 and focuses on improving football fundamentals. Additionally, motivational speakers guide participants through a variety of topics including perseverance, dedication to academics and healthy living. “I want to give these young kinds an opportunity to develop some of their skills and be in an atmosphere where they can talk, have fun and do drills with NFL players like myself. That was something I was never able to do, so I feel like I’m in a position to help the youth out.”