Garrett Marino was a notable and polarizing player for the Saskatchewan Roughriders throughout his time in the CFL that was mired by controversary. Before his career could really hit stride his personal conduct continued to impede the possible success that he seemed to be extremely capable of, however despite being released by the Roughriders on September 6th, Garrett Marino announced that he has signed a USFL contract and per his twitter handle with the Michigan Panthers.
Marino’s “legacy” in the CFL is well noted. This year alone he was fined and suspended multiple times, for unnecessary roughness and has allegedly been heard making racist remarks against Redblacks Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who he also illegally hit that ended in Masoli being injured for the rest of the year. Redblacks receiver Nate Behar came out publicly in defense of his teammate and was extremely disappointed in the leagues handling of the situation with Marino.
It wasn’t but several weeks later Marino once again was in the spotlight. Marino while fresh off a four game suspension Marino blindsided Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros late in the fourth quarter of the Labour Day Classic vs. the Blue Bombers. It wasn’t until this hit that Marino would be released from the Roughriders on September 6th, after 8 games and registering one sack.
While I believe everyone deserves a second chance, isn’t that what the initial suspension was supposed to be? If anything, it should be an indication of what could be for Marino and now the Michigan Panthers. Marino has repeatedly been in the spotlight for his less than stellar character issues. Even in college he had issues at Arizona State, and Montana after being dismissed from both programs before finishing up at UAB.
I’m not sure what the future holds for Marino however to give him a shot in the USFL seems a bit off colored in my opinion. While Marino from a skill-set standpoint definitely has talent he definitely has some issues that his skill set doesn’t match. It’s no secret Pro-Football players have done some heinous things on and off the field and often times face minimal repercussions many of those players skillsets offset the issues they bring into the locker room or on the field.
I personally view Marino as a rotational Defensive Linemen however, the amount of bad press and notoriety he brings to the USFL is not worth the headache. With tens of thousands of college players coming out of school this spring, Marino is not the guy I want younger players to rally around nor should the league waste a roster spot on a guy who clearly has not learned from his mistakes going back to college. Though I don’t know Marino, I do know that playing pro-football is a privilege and there are plenty of other guys working their tails off hoping to for an opportunity that Marino may have squandered away.
For Marino’s sake I hope he changes his attitude and actually gets his act together. As an older player in a young league, guys like Marino are crucial to show the younger players what being a pro is like, and while people change at this point it looks like this is Marino’s M.O. Regardless, the Panthers and the USFL went out on a limb, signing this controversial player as many other professional franchises have done with questionable players in the past. For Marino and the USFL hopefully it works out for them.