To encourage her son's aptitude for math, Urschel's mother would allow him to keep the change from shop visits if he could calculate it faster than the shopkeeper. What’s the likelihood of an NFL player quitting football to pursue a PhD? In Somerville, Massachusetts, Robert Ito speaks to the offensive lineman-turned-mathematician who could calculate the exact probability—and hears about what it’s like when your career goal switches from getting touchdowns and being picked as a first-season starter to dreams of peer review publication and a professorship. On July 27, 2017, John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, announced his retirement from football. Only three years into This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Five Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.