The Baltimore Ravens officially cut ties with left tackle Eugene Monroe on Wednesday. This was of very little surprise to fans who followed the team, as hindsight shows that the writing was on the walls. Not only did the Ravens use their highest draft pick in years on left tackle Ronnie Stanley, but they also held Monroe out of practices even after he was cleared last week.
Monroe being held out of practice likely had to do with the Ravens’ hope that they could somehow absorb Monroe’s loss by getting something in return from another team. That did not happen and so the Ravens made the call to move on and cut the oft-injured tackle, who only played 17 games over the last two seasons.
Yet there is also an interesting twist for those who are inclined to believe in conspiracy theories. Monroe is currently the only active player in the NFL to advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana. Since March, he has released a firestorm of tweets on his views and he opted to go to a medical marijuana panel over attending the Ravens’ Organized Team Activities.
The Ravens have gone out of their way to express that they do not share Monroe’s views on the matter. Yet John Harbaugh also has shot down the notion that Monroe’s off-field views had anything to do with him getting cut. Harbaugh instead called this a football move that was made for purely football reasons, as he went on cite the example of former Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo, who played five seasons with the Ravens despite being an extremely vocal LGBT advocate.
The reality is that Monroe was basically done in Baltimore even before he brought further attention to himself with his medical marijuana advocacy. His deal signed two years ago is easily one of the worst ever signed by the team as he was given $17.5 million in guaranteed money and was only able to stay healthy for 17 starts. Really, the only reason the team waited this long was so that he could be medically approved from his recent shoulder injury.
Monroe didn’t help matters though by calling the team out on Twitter for not supporting his views. While his advocacy is not a problem, he has to realize that picking fights over it could make him a divisive figure. Monroe is fortunate enough to have teams like the New York Giants interested in picking him up. He just needs to somehow separate his advocating from football or else he could find his football career done after just seven seasons.