Ominous Sign For Earnest GrahamMay 7th, 2012
Bucs all purpose running back Earnest Graham is one of the coolest guys to ever put on a Bucs uniform. No task was too small or too tedious for him. Ego was never an obstacle.
But Father Time is unforgiving, especially when it comes to running backs in the NFL and the brutal punishment they endure game after game, season after season.
If one is to read the tea leaves, it appears that Graham’s days with the Bucs are numbered.
Last year at the senior citizen age of 31 for NFL running backs, Graham suffered an Achilles heel injury at London against the Bears. Achilles heel injuries are lethal for young players much less an old man of a running back.
Provided Graham could return this season from that injury — no sure thing — he would be 32. That is ancient for an NFL running back.
Also, Graham is an unsigned, unrestricted free agent.
Now fast forward to this week’s rookie mini-camp. When the Bucs drafted speedster running back Michael Smith out of Utah State in the seventh round in last month’s draft, the Bucs could hardly hide the fact their hopes are for Smith to become the Bucs’ version of Darren Sproles.
Why does Joe invoke Smith’s name into a post on Graham? Well, Smith’s is wearing No. 34, Graham’s number.
Sure, when a team can have 90 players on the roster, there is sure to be conflicting numbers but usually that would be a defensive player is wearing the same number as an offensive player, not two offensive players wearing the same number. Also, the Bucs are chattering with smiles on their faces about Smith.
Not a word is whispered about Graham. The math of all the above factors suggest to Joe that Graham has played his last snap with the Bucs.
Sadly, all careers have to come to a close at some point.