After holding Eugene Monroe out of minicamp practice earlier in the week, the Baltimore Ravens made it clear that they were ready to move on from the veteran tackle. Unable to work out a trade, the team officially released the 29-year-old on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
"My understanding right now is that teams are inquiring about Eugene," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday. "When you’re in that kind of a situation, when there’s a possibility of those kinds of things happening, you’re pretty much obligated to pull back and not practice a guy. "
Even before Harbaugh confirmed that they were looking to unload him, it was obvious Monroe’s time with the Ravens was nearing an end. Over the past two seasons, Monroe played in just 17 of 32 regular season games due to injuries and is coming off shoulder surgery in December. The Ravens also drafted offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley with the sixth overall pick in April.
Monroe has also made headlines this offseason for his vocal support of medicinal marijuana and his attempts to get the NFL to remove marijuana off the banned substances list. He seems to believe that his advocacy is at least part of the reason why he was released by the Ravens.
"Despite the current uncertainties, one thing is for sure: whatever happens in terms of my professional football career, I will never stop pushing for the League to accept medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management," Monroe said in a statement released on Thursday. "I will do everything I can to ensure the generations of NFL players after me won't have to resort to harmful and addictive opioids as their only option for pain management."
The Ravens did their best to distance themselves from Monroe's stance.
"I promise you, he does not speak for the organization," Harbaugh said earlier in the offseason, via Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com.
However, Harbaugh clarified Thursday that the decision to move on from Monroe was purely a football decision.
Harbaugh on the release of Monroe: "Football circumstances changed. 100 percent, football circumstances." https://t.co/UmhgUhbiSb— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) June 16, 2016
Monroe spent his first four seasons in the league with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who drafted him with the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft. After the Jaguars drafted left tackle Luke Joeckel second overall in 2013, Monroe was deemed expendable and traded to the Ravens.
He played well in 2013 and the following offseason the Ravens signed him to a five-year extension worth $37.5 million, with $19 million guaranteed. Unfortunately, Monroe's health fell apart and his play has suffered as a result. With Stanley in the fold, the Ravens are the second team to replace Monroe with a rookie left tackle.
Now, Monroe is back to full health and should be able to find a new team, but the constant injuries over the past two years leaves his future in some doubt. The New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers are all possible landing spots for Monroe, according to Schefter.