Ask anyone inside the Jets' locker room who the most fearless, courageous and outspoken person on the team is, and 99 percent of the time, they will answer with Rontez Miles. The Jets safety always finds a way to make a statement, whether it's on the field or off of it.
For Miles, though, the battle for relevancy and success started well beyond football. At the early age of seven, Miles developed alopecia, an autoimmune disease in which hair is lost on some or all areas of the body.
"It was hard growing up," Miles said. "I got into a lot of fights. I got picked on a lot. Kids are cruel, man."
The hard-hitting safety, with a contagious laugh that livens up the locker room, was one of 10 children growing up.
"I had a rough childhood, and bounced around a lot, living with different family members," he said. "That didn't help my situation either, you know, I was always trying to make new friends."
Miles, who prefers to go by Tez, turned to music for solace, and has not stopped since.
"My mom's boyfriend had a studio, and he always let me record. By the time I got to high school, I had a music group with my best friend," he said. "I probably have over 1,000 songs recorded now."
It's true, he does. I've checked. He even has his own SoundCloud page and song coming out shortly on iTunes. His lyrical preferences range anywhere from Jay-Z and Kid Rock to Vanessa Carlton. Ironically, Carlton's 2001 hit single "A Thousand Miles" is one of his favorite songs.
"I produce all different types of genres and lyrics, but I like feel good music," he said, while literally doing a jig in front me. "If it's not football, I am probably just messing around with music. It's a passion I've always had."
Rontez was completely bald by the time he was in the seventh grade.
"I was too young to understand it. I just always knew I was different," he said. "It fueled me. I remember telling myself that I had to become something great. I told myself I can't be this way and just be a regular guy, I guess that helped drive me to be where I am now."
In high school, Miles was the homecoming king runner-up, but he still battled insecurity.
"I had to accept who I was and I finally did," Rontez said. "My getaway was always football and music."
The 27-year-old, who signed to the Jets practice squad in 2013, is now one of the club's special teams leaders. Insecurity is no longer an issue for him.
"Football helped me, still to this day, release anger," he said. "But writing music, kept me grounded."