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Rival Report 7/21: Medical marijuana advocate Eugene Monroe retires from NFL

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It is hard to not admire a person who is willing to put everything on the line to advocate for something that they believe whole heartedly will help people. That is what offensive tackle Eugene Monroe did when he began being an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana. Now we know that Monroe was so willing to risk his job because he was contemplating leaving it anyway.

Earlier this summer Monroe had donated a $10k grant to research the possible positive effects that medical marijuana could have in relation to brain injuries. Considering the focus on concussions in the NFL and the possible devastating effects of the brain disease CTE it was not a surprise that a player would be interested in researching towards hoping to prevent brain injuries anyway possible.

After the attention that the donation received and Monroe's ongoing advocacy for marijuana to become an accepted medical treatment for NFL players, John Harbaugh and the Ravens moved on from the polarizing tackle. They claim that his advocacy had nothing to do with their decision to release Monroe, but you don't often see a player of Monroe's age and skill level let go for nothing without there being a controversial reason.

Now Eugene Monroe has decided to hang up his cleats all together for fear of the ongoing punishment that he would put his body, and brain, through by continuing to play. He has been pursued by the New York Giants who do said publicly that they were fine with his advocacy for medical marijuana, but the tackle has decided to retire anyway at the age of 29 citing health concerns.

"I'm only 29 and I still have the physical ability to play at a very high level, so I know that my decision to retire may be puzzling to some. But I am thinking of my family first right now — and my health and my future." Monroe wrote in an article for The Player's Tribune.

"The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body. I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don't, but over 90% of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified."

It looks like the early retirement era has begun in the NFL, and Eugene Monroe is just another player to add to the list. We already saw early retirements from the likes of Calvin Johnson, Patrick Willis, and Chris Borland but it appears that they might just be the start of a growing trend.

Leaving the Game I Love | The Players' Tribune
Today, I am making my exit from the game of football. I’m leaving the sport I love — the sport that has consumed my existence for the last 18 years — to start a new life. - Eugene Monroe

Eugene Monroe Retires From NFL, Citing Fear Of CTE
Eugene Monroe is 29 years old and a starting-caliber left tackle, but was curiously released by the Ravens this offseason, a move Monroe believes was caused by his outspoken advocacy of medical marijuana. Today, Monroe retired from the NFL over health concerns.

NFL's Eugene Monroe, 'terrified' by brain damage threat, retires - NY Daily News
If the Giants are still looking for a new right tackle, they're going to have to look someplace else.

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