Graves on pro career, life after football

CuseNation.com caught up with former Syracuse quarterback Marvin Graves to discuss a variety of topics. In this edition, Graves discusses his professional football career and life after his playing days.

Marvin Graves left Syracuse as the school’s most prolific quarterback in terms of yardage, touchdowns, completions and many other statistical categories. While that success did not translate into a NFL career, he was able to play to professional football for several years.

”I was in Toronto for two years,” Graves said. “My rookie year was crazy. You start all your life and then I got to Toronto, there was another quarterback on the roster. It was an 18-game regular season. I ended up starting the last nine games of the season through trade and injury. We ended up going to the playoffs and lost, but the future looked promising. Then the business part of it, I was still a young quarterback and they ended up signing another guy and paying him good money. So I ended up staying in Toronto a second year not playing much. The following year, I was named the third quarterback.

Doug Flutie was traded to the team. I was actually looking forward to working with him and playing behind him. Then they moved the other guy to the spot ahead of me. I decided I wasn’t a practice squad quarterback. I ended up going to Saskatchewan then to Vancouver for a cup of tea. I ended up in Montreal which was a great fit for me. I was playing behind a veteran in Montreal that went to the playoffs and eastern finals that year. We missed the Grey Cup by a field goal. The following offseason, I got a new contract and ended up having a dispute. I wouldn’t say a dispute, but I ended up having a disagreement on some things. So I sat out a year.

”The next year, I got picked up by the Arena Football League for a year with the Iowa Barnstormers,” he continued. “From there, I went back to Saskatchewan. All in all, I played six or seven years of professional football. My last year with Saskatchewan, I was the starter but I got injured in the sixth game. After my injury, that was it for me. I had neck surgery and could have played more but the money wasn’t enough. I thought that year would be an indicator if I could play in the NFL because the year before, the guy ahead of me went to the NFL. I felt at that time I was a more polished quarterback. But once I got hurt, I just thought it was time.”

Since his professional football career ended, Graves has settled back in Washington, D.C. close to where he grew up. He has had a number of jobs as he works to earn income to support his family.

”After football, I’ve done so many things,” Graves said. “I always work. I’ve coached at several high schools. I did some personal training with quarterbacks and wide receivers. In the offeseason, I work with quarterbacks here and there. I’ve been a gym teacher, a family support worker, dabbled in real estate, and I’ve done multilevel marketing. I’ve basically just stayed busy. I’m not just one of these guys that hangs at home where life after football I’ve maxed out.

”Just do some things that are exciting to earn income and support my family. I did coach football with the Catholic Cardinals, which is a division three school out here in D.C, from 2008 to 2011. I was the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. I had a great time there. It just got to the point where chasing that dream to be a college coach wasn’t worth the traveling and running around and not being around for my kids. So I walked away from that. After that I did some electrical work since my dad is an electrician by trade. Anything that I can use my hands to make money I do.”

Graves now is the owner of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. called Cheerz Sports Grill.


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