Ominous Sign For Earnest Graham

May 7th, 2012

Bucs seventh round draft pick Michael Smith has been issued Earnest Graham's No. 34.

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.

21 Responses to “Ominous Sign For Earnest Graham”

  1. legacy Says:

    Maybe Smith will become Mr. August like Graham was that would be good

  2. Jessup Says:

    “If one is to read the tealeaves, it appears that Graham’s days with the Bucs are numbered.”

    Since he isn’t under contract and won’t be coming back, I believe what you meant to say is his day’s with the Bucs are over…not numbered.

  3. Jessup Says:

    I like Robert Hughes to take Graham’s place as the 3rd down RB/FB role. We should have taken Joe Martinek in the 7th round to take that role though.

  4. Kujolw84 Says:

    We all knew this day was coming. Earnest Graham was a good back and a team player, Probably would of had a better career somewhere else. I’m really liking the fact we have a 4.3 guy on this team, He’s speed will bring a new pace to the game for us. I know we had Kareem Huggins, Smith reminds me of him. Our RB depth is nice cant wait. Go Bucs!!

  5. Garv Says:

    Due to his age and injuries this is not surprising.
    Earnest Graham was all about TEAM and will be missed.
    I know he will get a very loud and enthusiastic roar when introduced
    at a home game soon.

    He’s a Buccaneer for life.

  6. jfgobucs Says:

    So what does that say for GMC…one of your pictures shows a chunky ladd wearing “93”..?

  7. Jonny 3.3 Says:

    One thing to note about Michael Smith though is that most of the scouting reports say he isn’t that quick for a guy that runs 4.3. Straight line speed is good, but it is quickness that allows runners to dodge tackles initially in short spaces. Also many scouting reports say he does not run as fast as he timed in actual games. Quickness is naturally acquired, but I think he can be coached to hit his top speed once he gets into space.

  8. Thomas2.2 Says:

    Sadly, EG’s days appear to be over due to a severe achilles tear. The number thing means nothing.

    Apparently, the bucs org now reserves #93 for the most chunky and soft players on the roster.


    Nothing wrong with a front office job repping his only team.

  10. Eric Says:

    Too bad,

    One of the best undrafted free agents ever signed by the bucs.

  11. funkymunkey Says:

    EG is a great human being! That said, it does not make him a great football player. He has never been very good and only because the majority of fans liked him because he did what he was asked without complaining. I’ve been saying for atleast 3 years that he should be cut. I’m glad to hear someone else has his #. Especially a speedster that will compliment Martin and Blount. Hopefully we can hire him as an assistant coach or even in the FO at some point. But I have to say, I am SOOO glad to see him go. His performance on the field never showed anything more than a subpar player. We have some talent at the RB position to finally give him the boot! Can’t wait til training camp and preseason to see what we actually have going on here!

  12. funkymunkey Says:

    And I’m not trying to be bash the guy. Just typing the truth. But he was never a favorite in my eyes and I have always been shocked to read the support he gets from fans. The only reason he was here for so long is, we haven’t had a real RB since Warrick Dunn in his 1st stint here. Alstott was a FB that ran short yardage plays ala EG. We have Blount for that. Martin is our RB for everything else. And the new guy will hopefully get 5 plays a game at best. Unless he out performs Blount in OTAs and training camp.

  13. Patrick Says:

    I’ll miss Graham. Nice guy. It’s a tragedy how we never properly used a great player like him.

  14. rrsrq Says:

    Hate to use a rah quote, but he was spot on with insurance Graham, look back over the years when he was actually gven a chance to play, he always produced, not sure what games funkeymunkey was watching.

  15. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Hopefully now we can have an “insurance” policy that is always effective instead of always injured.

  16. JonBuc Says:


    Graham was not only good, he flashed brilliance at times. He will be missed( not by you) and never got a true opportunity after his breakout year in 2007.

  17. funkymunkey Says:

    You people are in love with him because he did what he was asked and didn’t question it. I don’t know what games you watched. But like many players he had 1 good year and did very little after or before that. I have watched almost every Bucs game the last 12 or 13 seasons and only missed maybe 1 or 2 a season and never got peoples infatuation with him. He is slow, has only one move, which is straight ahead, he did block well I will give him that. But what else has he done in his career??? Nothing!!! He has a total of 2,047 career yards and 15 TDs, and 10 came in 2007. He also has less than 500 career carries but has 6 fumbles and 5 of them were lost??? Please tell me how he is so great?? Besides being the “teachers pet”????

    And if you want to talk about misusing a RB you only have to look back to last season. Blount had several games where he basically wasn’t there. I know he has fumbling issues but I’m just glad we have a real RB in Doug Martin and a good #2 in Blount. Be happy we finally have a talented team in most of the positions now for the first time in 10 years almost!! Quit talking about 2007 and all the what ifs and focus on the new Tampa Bay Bucs team!!!

  18. funkymunkey Says:

    IF EG was as good as you people make him out to be…don’t you think he would have much better numbers than that??? 477 carries in 8 seasons tells me something was wrong with him. I am not hating on him as a person at all. He is a true top notch human being whom more people should strive to be. But that has zero effect on the football field. I like to talk about reality and not what ifs and all that other mumbo jumbo!!

  19. Patrick Says:

    Funkeymonkey……shut up already. Graham would’ve had a pro bowl career had he been with a team that had used him properly and given him a real chance. Every opportunity he got to run the ball he was very good!

  20. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Obviously his attitude of team first influences us to like him. I see nothing wrong with that. I’ll take an Earnest Graham over a selfish player with a little more talent anyday. He has been tremendously loyal to the Bucs, and especially helpful towards the other RB’s on the team. Off the field, you have to read his story and what he does for his family and community. I’m sorry, but I appreciate stuff like that.

    Plain and simple, the guy didn’t get a fair shake throughout his career (probably as a result of his great attitude). He always played good when given playing time, yet was rarely given much of an opportunity. He will never be confused with Barry Sanders, but he has at worst been a solid running back for us.

    Lastly, I couldn’t disagree more that the the type of person he is has no effect on a football team. That’s complete garbage. Having a guy in the locker room like EG is incredibly beneficial to a team. Look no further than what happened last year after EG went down (obviously I’m not saying that we went on a 10 game streak because he got injured, but it absolutely was one of many factors).

  21. Derek Says:

    earnest dodge ram graham has to be one of the most under appreciated yet valuable bucs ever. hopefully his playing career continues but if not I know hes got interest outside football and will still be heard from