The NFL’s Job Hazard

So, Ravens offensive linemen Eugene Monroe has decided to add his name to the list of players who have retired early due to fear of doing further damage to themselves.  Eugene Monroe is 29 years old, and was recently just released by the Ravens because of injuries limiting Monroe to being an active player on the roster.  Instead of searching for a new team, Monroe has decided to put his family and health first and walk away from the game of football.  Monroe, like players before him, have decided the long-term effects on his health are not worth the risk which playing professional football bring.

Monroe said in his statement he does not want to continue taking pain-killers to stay on the field and he also mentioned how his fear of CTE is something to consider.


Kudos to Monroe.  Really.   He is following the current trend of player’s like  A.J. Tarpley and Chris Borland – two young players in the league who decided that the game is too dangerous for their long-term health and decided to call it quits.  Bigger names in the league who retired before their time are former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson and former 49er Patrick Willis, who have counted their blessings and figured to get out before any serious damage can occur. . .


To retire early is one’s choice, but let’s not go overboard in calling these men anything else but “men who retired early.”  The NFL has a job hazard.  Actually a few of them: broken bones, CTE and in some cases even paralysis.  These are risks that players know of (at least in today’s league) and it’s their decision to play or not.   There are a lot of jobs that come with health-hazards/life-risk:  logging workers, steel workers, construction workers, firemen and police officers to name a few.  They know going in what the job has to offer them on the positive side and on the negative side.  For these people, the positive outweigh the negative and they commit to it.

The NFL is being hurt by players retiring early because of the “fear” of what might happen to them.  For some of these players though, they’ve already cashed in on some nice paychecks before doing so.   The NFL is a dangerous and violent sport.  Even in today’s toned down version of American Football.  Players of today know all about the risk verses the reward when playing in this league and there’s a fine line between cashing in quick and then leaving; to playing and becoming “more aware” of the risks.


Monroe might have just had a “eureka” moment and decided to call it quits. . . OR maybe his push for medicinal marijuana use in the league being ignore and the fact that he was just cut after being injury prone, changed his mind about playing in the league.   Monroe is a 29 year old man who knew from the age of 14 years old how intense and violent this sport is.  He is young enough to be in-tune with the stories that have circled this league in concerns of C.T.E . . .

Everyone has the right to retire for whatever reason they want, but from the NFL side of things – this will only end up bad.  If you keep having players retire early, there will eventually be no reason to keep the league going.  “Stars” will have peaked by the end of their rookie contracts and then walk off into the sunset.   This is why the league is coming down harder on violent/unnecessary hits and have made the jobs of defensive players all around the league difficult.  The rules have changed to make this violent sport “safer” and ultimately the rules will change so much that it will change the sport altogether.  These rules are being made to keep players from being scared of the sport itself.

Enjoy the league now, because maybe no more than 20 years down the line the game will no longer feature amazing super-star  careers like Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson or Ray Lewis have presented to us. . . Or it may just become a completely different game altogether.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio


T.O.C.T.M – July ’16

The Only Column That Matters: July 2016. . .


Where do we start this week?  With Donald Trump obviously.  Eh, not really – but let’s talk about the Republican National Convention (or as the cool trust-fund kids call it “The RNC”).   Everyone’s favorite NFL bust, Tim Tebow was rumored to be a speaker at this year’s RNC but Tebow only confirmed that it was indeed just a “rumor.”  Tebow is said to be a future possibility in the Republican party down the line, but man, we’re not promised tomorrow and this would’ve been something we all could’ve enjoyed.  Trump has been accused of turning the presidential race into a circus while Tim Tebow is the ring-leader of any media-driven-circus.  It would’ve been great to see hard-core Christians who support Tebow in everything he does be in the same room as Trump enthusiasts who can sometimes be obnoxiously loud and obtuse.  . .


It’s amazing when rich people just make up their own issues.  We are also in awe when we talk about “power couples” in our country. . . and an American sweetheart.  Well this story has it all.  .  . When Kanye West released his song “Famous” he had the line: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/I made that b*tch famous/ I made that b*tch famous.”  This was of course in reference to pop/country singer Taylor Swift who Kanye West basically told, while she was accepting an award “Shut up, you’re not better than Beyonce.”  After the song was released Taylor was playing the role of the offended-yet-strong-minded-young-woman who looks down on those who must speak to women in such a way. . . As many of us already knew, Taylor was being fake as f…. Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian leaked a video of Kanye speaking to Taylor about the lyrics and her being perfectly fine with it.   Aye, Taylor.  We all kind of knew she was phony already, but to be exposed by Kanye and Kim – eesh, it’d be best if she just lay low for a while.  Swift is set to sue Kanye for illegally recording the conversation, and I’m pretty sure Kim will handle this bill as well. . .


This has nothing to do with nothing, but what’s up with people’s obsession with the beach?  I understand, it’s the “Summer thing” to do and all, but why?  The beach has sand which is arguably the worst substance the Earth has ever created.  I think I still have sand in a Jansport book bag I took to the beach with me three years ago.  When sand is dry it’s hot as all hell and when sand is wet it’s basically mud – why would my feet want any part of that?  The fact that people actually drive to a sandy location, to lay-down in the smoldering heat, then pack everything up and go home after is a baffling series of events to me.   We buy air conditioners and fans in the Summer because the heat is too much.  As soon as you get home from the beach you wash off the disgusting sweat and “beach-smell” off of you and sit in an air-conditioned room.  What’s wrong with you people?


How useless is this four-game suspension put on Tom Brady? According to Pro Football Talk – very useless.  If anything, it just keep Brady “fresher” in the season and might actually increase the Patriots chances of going to the Super Bowl.  You see, the Pats are still -200 favorite to win the AFC East (for you non-gamblers out there, that means in order to win $100, you’d have to risk $200.)  They are also a 6-1 favorite to win the Super Bowl.   The suspension is stupid.  This basically says, in the world of the NFL,  that if Tom Brady hit his wife or was caught doing drugs, it’s the same punishment for deflating a football that nobody can even definitively tell if it gives teams an advantage or not.  Is Tom Brady on Instagram or Twitter?  If he is, he should pull a huge douche move and every Sunday post pictures of him and his wife in bed counting stacks of cash laughing and being the perfect human beings that they are. . .


What’s the score in this Joe Budden versus Drake beef?  Currently, Budden is winning three to a half.  Yes, a half.  But, if nobody hears the beef did the beef even happen?  Exactly.  Although, Budden is lyrically destroying Drake, all the Toronto native has to do is ignore it until it goes away.  It’s an unfair position but it’s the truth.  Drake gives life to Joe Budden if he tries to do a “Back to Back, Pt.2.”  Drake also must know deep inside, this is a battle he can’t win.   It all won’t matter in the end because Drake is killing the game right now with mindless, dance-hall infused, rap (?) music.  .  .


If nobody else will say it, I will: Can we please be done with any and everything that involves future projects with Kevin James?  Yes, on the onset he looks like one of those happy-go-lucky, nice guys you want to have a beer with at a bar, but in reality he’s a class A jackass (allegedly) and his humor has a ceiling.  That ceiling was in “King of Queens” where he shined, even among the talented cast around him.  James is slated to have a new sitcom entitled “Kevin Can Wait.”  He’s apparently a retired officer with a family in this comedy and once again he’s married to a woman who is obviously out of his league (the actress Erinn Hayes).   He’ll be another bumbling, fumbling moron, who’s mindset is simplistic and gets himself into “comedic situations” that he’ll get out of by ways of the “puppy dog eyes and ‘I’m sorry’ routine” or the good ol’ “fat guy got lucky” routine.   The act is tired and so am I, see you guys next month with the next edition of The Only Column That Matters.

G.W. Gras

Check out the podcast “TheOnlyShowThatMatters” on Soundcloud and on the NGSCRadio Network

Twitter @GeeSteelio


The Hollywood Rams

Reality television is usually seen for actors and/or musicians who have seemingly “lost their way” and are vying for a moment in the spotlight.  These are the folks that see this route as a last ditch-effort in re-acquiring the fame that has escaped them.

So why does the NFL need reality television?  It’s already the most dominant sport in America.  The sports-hubs of the nation revolve their workdays around it – even in the off-season.   The NFL does it because until we all collectively say out loud “enough is enough” – the league will continue to pursue ways to keep itself in the public’s eye all year long.


Since 2001, the NFL has stayed true to putting a team’s pre-season on display on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”  All in all, the show has proven to be a success.  It helps put a face to the names of players and puts the fans “in” the locker room.  This year the newly-moved Los Angeles Rams are the team that will be nationally viewed on Hard Knocks.  Oh, and the Rams will also be on the E! Network series “Hollywood & Football.”  Because two reality shows about the same team is exactly what football fans want to see.

“Hollywood & Football” focuses on some of the Rams players and their wives.  Kenny Britt and his wife Sabrina are one of the six couples that will be followed around.  One has to wonder if during a heated argument Sabrina spits fire at Kenny like “How does it feel to always fall short of your potential!?”  Riveting, must-see T.V. . .


To be fair though, this move makes perfect sense for the Rams.  This is a team that has been mostly forgotten since the days of Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk.  They play in a division which has the league’s current “it” team in the Seattle Seahawks; a team that might be the best in the NFC and might have the league’s best head coach in the Cardinals and a team, that although they are serious flaming bags of trash – the 49ers are still the 49ers and their name carries more weight than most in the league.  The Rams, are looking for a new identity.  This is why they’ve moved back to Los Angeles and are now trying to take up the spotlight any way they can.

The Rams drafted Jared Goff with the number one pick of the draft this year – a product of California University with a Hollywood smile.  This was not just a move for a team looking for a new quarterback, but a team looking for a new beginning.  This is exactly why people move.  To start over.  Do things differently.  Right now the Rams are tired of being “under-the-radar.”  They want to be noticed.  With a rookie quarterback and a second year back that the league fell in love with last season in Todd Gurley, the Rams think they are putting the right pieces together.


So maybe the NFL is not the forgotten celebrity trying to re-brand itself in our world.  It’s just the Rams trying to re-brand itself in the world of football.  Just like Bret Michaels and Flavor Flav, the Rams are just looking for love. . .exposure and prove to the world that they still exist.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

3 College Football “Sleepers”

It’s easy to pick the big-boys out of the bunch: Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson – blah, blah, blah.    The sport of college football needs those consistent power houses.  Although, they maintain a level for which others should strive to attain – the intrigue of a season is mostly determined by  teams we never saw coming.

The term “sleeper” is tough to define.  It could be a traditionally weaker school out of a big conference, or a non-BCS conference team that threatens to move up the National Top 25.  Here are three teams that people should expect some noise from in the upcoming season.

Boston College. . . Last Season 3-9 record (0-8 in ACC)


Last season, the lack of an offense really derailed the Eagles.  B.C. lost five games by three or less points.  One of those losses was to a lowly Wake Forest team in a hard-to-watch 0-3 loss.  Anything resembling an offense could have (may have) changed the fortunes of this team but they had a pitiful pass attack which led defenses to stack the line against them routinely.  Boston College hopes things will be different with Kentucky graduate-transfer Patrick Towles at the quarterback position.  Patrick Towles is in no way the re-birth of Matt Ryan under center for the Eagles, but he is a quarterback who played in the SEC and has seen some of the faster defenses in recent history.  Aside from tough defensive assignments like Florida State, Clemson and Louisville – the schedule isn’t too harsh.  Even then, they lost to Florida State 14-0 and Louisville 17-14  last season so it wouldn’t be far fetched to say they can overcome those obstacles this year.  Running back John Hillman will be at full strength this season and he showed a lot of potential in 2014 running for over 800 yards and 13 touchdowns.  The defense has 8 returning starters which is good news for head coach Steve Addazio who needs a huge turn-around to keep his job this year.  It wouldn’t be shocking to see this team make some noise and come away with a big upset or two during the year.

Bowling Green. . . Last Season 10-4 record (7-1 in the MAC)


How is a 10 win team considered a “sleeper” team?  Easy: they lost their stud quarterback Matt Johnson to the NFL.  With him, Johnson  takes his forty-six touchdown passes and sixty-seven percent completion percentage.  Also, Bowling Green comes out of the MAC conference, and let’s be honest, the only time folks look out for MAC conference is when they are the only thing to watch on Thursday nights and you’re trying to win some easy money against your bookie.  The MAC has a few high powered offenses (because very few of these teams play defense) and folks are counting Bowling Green out because of the absence of Matt Johnson – pump your breaks on that.  New head coach Mike Jinks comes out of the high-octane Texas Tech Red Raiders offense.  Under Jinks the team had their first 1,000 yard rusher since 1998 (jeez fellas. . .) and he has an experienced quarterback at his disposal in Jame Knapke.  Knapke got significant playing time in 2014 and filled in admirably.  At times he’s a bit of a hot head and gets ahead of himself, but now more mature and in an offense that’s all his own, all is not lost.  Also in front of Knapke  are  four returning offensive linemen in front of him so the protection should not be a problem. They have an opening game at Ohio State where they will lose by eighty-five points, but after that it’s all fair game in the MAC for Bowling Green and James Knapke.

Air Force Falcons. . . Last Season 8-6 (6-2 record in Mountain West)


Last season Air Force had a one dimensional offense but nobody could really stop it, so they kept on doing what they do best: run the ball.  The Falcons’ ground game rushed for 4187 yards at a 5.5 yard clip.  They ran the ball 764 times – which was by far the most in the nation and this year they return with a two back set that is set to wreck havoc.  Timothy McVey (yes, that name makes me uncomfortable too) and Jacobi Owens will be a handful for the defenses on their schedule.  Oh, and their schedule – should pretty much be a breeze.   Navy isn’t as strong as last year, Boise isn’t what they used to be and they don’t play San Diego State (the team that beat them by three points in the Mountain West Championship game last year).  The Air Force defense has nine returning starters and they pretty much set up a different blitz package every time they lined up last season.  Now with a little more experience and bad competition this defense is set to have a huge impact.  Air Force is a team that could very well find themselves in the Top 25 when it’s all said and done – that is, if folks look passed their weak schedule. . .

If it wasn’t for their schedule Syracuse would’ve been a fourth team to keep an eye out for.   Quarterback Eric Dungey is an exciting player to watch and as stated in Lindy’s Sports “The hurry up spread is coming to Syracuse” which would fit Dungey’s skill set perfectly.  The only issue is, Notre Dame, Clemson, Boston College, Florida State, Louisville – you get the picture. . .



G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio




Joe Budden Reintroduces Himself

When the name Joe Budden comes up in most hip hop conversations, the words “one-hit-wonder,” are usually associated with him.  If not for his 2003 hit record “Pump It Up” most wouldn’t know who Budden is.  Unless of course you know of him on VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop” and his very public relationships with Ester, Tahiry and Kaylin.  To the underground faithful – or just the Joe Budden fans – though, Budden is considered to be one of hip hop’s true great lyricists.  He has built a dedicated following without the use of mainstream radio due to his independent and mix=tape releases.  Budden’s style has been considered “emo” as he wears his emotions on his sleeve, goes in depth about the pitfalls of his life and does so with brilliant word-play.   With all that being said, Budden has been in the game for over a decade and doesn’t scratch the surface of what is considered to be a “rap superstar.”

Budden has maintained consistency in his product and a little more than a year ago, began his podcast “I’ll Name This Podcast Later.”  The podcast has proven to be successful and at times controversial.  He (along with his podcast partners Marissa Mendez and Rory) have been the subject of social media attacks from other artists such as Meek Mill but it doesn’t stop the show’s continued fan support.   Most recently, Budden was very hard on Drake, an artist who Budden has openly been a fan of on his podcast.  Budden was less-than-enthused with Drake’s last project “Views” and even went as far as saying: “I think that that kid on that album that I heard sounds real fucking uninspired.”  What this did was inspire a slight jab from Drake aimed at the direction of Budden in a snippet of a track released on social media where Drake  mutters the words “pump, pump, pump it up.”   Budden didn’t take this as a “diss” and publicly shrugged it off.  .  .


Then Drake released “4 PM in Calabasas” and Joe Budden combed through the lyrics of this song like a detective thirsty for some evidence:  “All of a sudden I got people showing how much they truly resent me/They whole demeanor just spells envy/they tryna tempt me.”

Budden laid low for a little while and then released a six minute verbal assault on Drake disguised as a song called “Making a Murderer, Pt.1”

The track, produced by Araab Muzik, supplied hip hop with enough ammo to burn through the next couple of weeks, as Budden took slight jabs at Meek Mill and Jay-Z (very slight but if you look back there is actually history there as well) – but the focus is clearly on Drake : “I’m a wordsmith for reall, you thought Quentin was bad/You made me proud, lad, but it seems my child mad/ With all the clout that he grabbed, theres still doubts from his dad.”  Budden has acknowledged before that Drake was a fan of Budden’s and even has ran with some of Budden’s style in the past. . .


Joe Budden truly peppered enough quote-a-bles on this track, I could’ve printed out all the lyrics to the song and the reader would have gotten the point, but these gems should suffice in getting the point across: ” You’re so indirect, shit wasn’t real clear/Either Jimmy actin’ or he really miss a wheelchair. . . .i figure he’s close to his death to know the reaper/in fitted sweats with old sneakers, the flow ether/gassed cause he KO’d Omeeka/no, Joe’s deeper. . .Your words ain’t sayin a thing/I kilogram without weighing a thing/ nigga you baitin’ a king.”  And for those that didn’t get that “kilogram” line – think about it – Kilogram / Kill-a-Graham / Drake’s real name is Aubrey Graham – the boy Budden got lyrics. . .

Now, should Drake respond?  For the sake of hip-hop, yes he should – but in truth, Drake’s best action – career-wise – is to ignore it.  On the grand scheme of things, Budden isn’t in the same stratosphere as Drake.  If Drake ignores “Making A Murderer, Pt. 1” it will be as if the track never existed.   Drake is that big of an artist.


Drake’s fans have taken to social media and have attacked Budden for trying to re-ignite his career by dissing Drake.  There might be some truth to that, but in reality, Budden is a rapper.  This is what rappers do (or at least used to do.)  He isn’t hiding behind subliminal lines or staying off of social media – he never has.  This is what he is.  Other Drake fans have said that the diss-track is altogether weak – which is obviously a blinded opinion.

Budden has done what needed to be done.  Today’s rap artists seem to be too comfortable.  Jump-Off-Joey has just shook the foundation from the top of the totem-pole and people are getting nervous.  Drake has a lot to lose if he comes out flat with a rebuttal record or loses this battle with Budden altogether.  For Budden, he has nothing to lose.  He has already gained a bunch of new listeners though who have been shut-off from the music he’s created over the last few years.


In hip hop, “the battle” is a good-thing.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio