Posts Tagged ‘2009 NFL Draft’

September 9th, 2009

Jermaine Gresham and Looking Out for #1

The next time you hear someone running down a college athlete for leaving school early in order to go pro, be sure to mention the case of Oklahoma University Tight End Jermaine Gresham.  Projected to go as the top tight end in the 2009 NFL Draft, Gresham instead opted to return to Norman for his senior year. 

Had he decided to turn pro, Gresham was a sure first round pick, and probably would have gone at least as high as the top tight end in the 2009 draft, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew. He signed a 5-year, $14.6 million contract with the Detroit Lions, $9.4 million which is guaranteed.  If you’re smart, that’s the kind of money that sets you up for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, nothing in this world is really guaranteed, which Gresham found out the hard way last week when he injured his right knee in practice, a mishap which has knocked him out for the rest of the season.  He’s now looking at five full months of rehabilitation.

While a report from the Tulsa World says his NFL future is intact, I have to wonder out loud whether or not Gresham is having second thoughts about his decision right now.  In essence, he left one full season of NFL wages on the table in exchange for one more kick at the can at Oklahoma, money that’s gone forever.

Sure, he’ll go back into the hopper for the 2010 NFL Draft, but a lot can happen between September 2009 and April 2010.  Other players can have breakout seasons, maybe an injury doesn’t heal the way it should or even becomes a chronic situation that plagues a player for the rest of his career.

So the next time a player turns pro early, don’t call him greedy. and immature  Instead, maybe they’re demonstrating more maturity and understanding about how life can go wrong than most of us ever will.