Remember That Time Brandon Graham Used Section 215 As His Motivation For 2014?


Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I know free-agency starts this afternoon, but this story is definitely more important.

Yesterday morning, I published an article discussing the future of the outside-linebacker position for the Eagles. In the piece, I quoted parts of a article, where the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane broke down some of the best edge-rush options that the Eagles could look at in free-agency.

In McLane’s article, he included this juicy tidbit about three of the edge-rush options currently on the team.

"Cole should stay. Barwin isn’t going anywhere. And Graham could be available to trade."

Naturally, as my job as editor and lead writer of a Philadelphia sports website requires me to, I reacted to this.

I didn’t do what some websites or blogs do and just paste McLane’s quote and throw up 45 words with it, and call it my own, though. I wrote a full article talking about the Eagles edge options, and my thoughts on the futures of both Graham and Cole specifically. I thought my insight on Graham was both fair an accurate.

"As for Brandon Graham, if the Eagles find a trade partner who is willing to give up a third of fourth round pick, he COULD be moved. Obviously we all wish the Eagles selected Earl Thomas over Graham, but he does have 8.5 sacks over the last two seasons, and that isn’t bad for a rotation player. The team could release him if they sign another free-agent, but it’s unlikely that they get a free-agent who is making less than Graham ($1.67 million base salary, with a $3.378 million cap hit), or even find a free-agent that productive for same price.A large portion of the fanbase would like to see Graham let go, to give more snaps to Cedric Thorton, but Graham was drafted out of position as a defensive-end and I am intrigued to see what he could do in a second season at outside linebacker. At the same time, Thorton was extremely productive in limited time last year, so I understand wanting to get him more snaps."

After writing the article, I went to school. So I’m sitting at lunch today, and my phone gets two notifications within  a five minute period, saying ‘Brandon Graham has favorited your tweet.’ I checked to make sure that it wasn’t just a fan account or something, and sure enough, it was @brandongraham55, which is Graham’s verified account. So not only did he favorite the automatic tweet put out when I post an article on my personal account (@timkelly_215), but he also favorited the same tweet on Section 215’s account (@sec215).

After going through some of Graham’s other tweets, it appears that he caught wind of some of the trade rumors, as far back as Sunday night.

That tweet came shortly after Graham retweeted a string of tweets essentially thanking Andy Reid and Joe Banner for selecting Graham over future All-Pro safety and Superbowl champion Earl Thomas, who fell to the Seahawks in the 2010 draft.

I understand a player using what he deems as ‘hate’ as motivation, but let’s be frank, we all wanted Earl Thomas then, and we still do now. The Eagles absolutely made the wrong pick, and Thomas has developed into arguably the best free-safety in the league.

After a cult of ass-kissing fans, likely looking to get a response out of a pro athlete for the first time, gave the old “haters gonna’ hate” line, Graham posted this tweet in response.

Graham was done for the night, but proceeded to pick up in the morning, by favoriting my two tweets, and I’m sure a ton of others. My tweet wasn’t hating at all, it was simply reporting. I’d be shocked if Graham actually took the time to read my article, but if he did and wants to use that as motivation, then by all means, go ahead. Like I said in the article, I’m intrigued to see what Graham could do in a second season under Billy Davis, but I understand people who don’t feel that way. I certainly understand fans who would rather have Thomas, because I’m one of them.

I’d love to see Graham breakout and prove all the ‘haters’ (I guess I’m included in that group now) wrong. I’m not the type of person who has an ego to the point where I couldn’t say that Graham did more than I said he would, should that happen. If he posts 10 sacks next year, I will be the first to tweet at him and congratulate him. But even then, I’d still much rather have Earl Thomas.

Graham’s best strategy might be trying to prove the critics who are calling him a bust (which is a stretch) wrong in 2014, while clearing the name Earl Thomas out of his mind. The Eagles screwed up the pick, but Graham shouldn’t get caught up in trying to out-do an All-Pro—because he isn’t going to.

Follow Section 215 on Twitter @Sec215 and like us on Facebook here.