"I just have an appreciation for it because I know what sacrifice goes into being free in the country, to have the opportunity to go to school and line up on Saturday," he said. "So when I go to school I think of it as such a blessing to be alive. I love waking up and going to practice."
He is often asked to retell his war stories to teammates and fans, but Rodriguez said that doesn't bother him either. One day, he hopes to open a sports complex where he can help coach and inspire kids, espsecially those that remind him of a younger version of himself.
"I want to be able to help kids that aren't as fortunate to have great workout, and use my story to say get your grades up, never sell yourself short. I'd love to be a role model, I would love to be a part of that," he said.
The Battle of Kamdesh, where Rodriguez fought in Afghanistan, will be the subject of an upcoming book by ABC News' Jake Tapper, to be released Nov. 13, 2012.