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Jimmy Graham (born November 24, 1986) is an American football tight end for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). He played only one year of college football at the University of Miami, after playing four years of basketball. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Jimmy Graham
refer to caption
Graham with the Green Bay Packers in 2018
No. 80 – Green Bay Packers
Position: Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1986-11-24) November 24, 1986 (age 31)
Goldsboro, North Carolina
Height: 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Weight: 265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school: Charis Prep
(Wilson, North Carolina)
College: Miami (FL)
NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 3 / Pick: 95
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2018
Receptions: 583
Receiving yards: 7,149
Receiving touchdowns: 70
Player stats at NFL.com

In his second season in the NFL, Graham had 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns. That year, he made his first Pro Bowl appearance and was selected as an All-Pro player at his position. He became the first tight end in Saints history to have more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season.[1] He set the Saints franchise record for receptions in a season while also tying the Saints franchise record for touchdowns in a season.[2] Graham is also second all-time for most receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end in a single season.[3]

In only three seasons, Graham also set the Seattle Seahawks franchise record for the most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns at the tight end position.[4]

Contents

Early yearsEdit

Born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Graham had a difficult upbringing. At age 11, he was placed in a group home by his mother where he was physically beaten by older children. In high school, with help from a church youth counselor who took him in and eventually adopted him, he improved his grades, became a basketball star as a senior at Community Christian in Wilson, North Carolina[5] and at Charis Prep in Wilson, North Carolina, and earned a basketball scholarship at Miami.[6][7][8]

College careerEdit

Graham played basketball for the Miami Hurricanes men's basketball team under head coach Frank Haith from 2005 to 2009.[9][10] Graham graduated from Miami in May 2009 with a double major in marketing and management, then stayed at Miami to take graduate classes while playing a season of football. In 2009, he played tight end and finished the season with 17 receptions for 213 yards and five touchdowns in appearances in 13 games.[6][11]

College football statisticsEdit

Miami Hurricanes
Year GP Receiving
Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
2009 13 17 213 12.5 22 5
Total 13 17 213 12.5 22 5
Source: FoxSports.com

Professional careerEdit

External video
  Graham's NFL Combine workout
Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 6 14 in
(1.99 m)
260 lb
(118 kg)
35 in
(0.89 m)
10 58 in
(0.27 m)
4.56 s 1.58 s 2.66 s 4.45 s 6.90 s 38 12 in
(0.98 m)
10 ft 0 in
(3.05 m)
15 reps
All values are from NFL Combine, except bench press from Pro Day[12][13]

According to scouts, Graham was "extremely athletic, with an outstanding combination of size and speed for the tight end position," yet he was considered very raw since he only had one year of college football experience.[14] Graham was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, with the 95th overall selection.[15] He signed a four-year, $2.445 million rookie contract on July 28, 2010.[16]

New Orleans SaintsEdit

 
Graham with the Saints in 2012

2010 seasonEdit

In his rookie season in 2010, Graham started in only 5 games, playing behind veteran tight end Jeremy Shockey, who also had played for the Miami Hurricanes.[17] In a Week 9 game at Carolina—his first NFL game in his home state—Graham caught a 19-yard pass from quarterback Drew Brees to score his first career NFL touchdown, contributing to a 34-3 Saints rout.[18] On December 19, against the Baltimore Ravens, Graham recorded two receiving touchdowns in the same game for the first time in his professional career.[19] Graham finished the 2010 season with 31 catches for 356 yards and five touchdowns.[20]

2011 seasonEdit

Graham started the 2011 season off strong with four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown in a 42–34 loss to the Green Bay Packers.[21] In Week 3, against the Houston Texans, he had four receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown for his first game reaching the century mark.[22] The next week, he recorded 10 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars.[23] In the follow game, a victory over the Carolina Panthers, he recorded eight receptions for 129 yards.[24] He recorded his fourth straight game with at least 100 receiving yards in the next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with seven receptions for 124 yards.[25] He was held to 54 receiving yards but had two receiving touchdowns in the next game against the Indianapolis Colts.[26] Over the last nine games of the regular season, he totaled 54 receptions for 636 receiving yards and six touchdowns.[27] Overall, in the 2011 season, his first full year as a starter, Graham had 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns and made his first Pro Bowl.[28] He became the first tight end in Saints history to have more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He set the franchise record for receptions in a season while also tying the Saints franchise record for touchdowns in a season (Marques Colston in 2007 and Joe Horn in 2004, are the other receivers in Saints history with 11 touchdown catches).[29] During the Saints' Week 17 win over the Carolina Panthers, Graham broke Kellen Winslow's NFL record of 1,290 receiving yards in a season by a tight end. However, the record was broken later that day by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who finished the season with 1,327 yards.[30] He was named to the Pro Bowl for the 2011 season.[31] In addition, he was named a second-team All Pro by the Associated Press and Pro Football Focus.[32]

The Saints finished with a 13–3 record and won the NFC South.[33] In the Wild Card Round against the Detroit Lions, Graham finished with seven receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.[34] In the Divisional Round against the San Francisco 49ers, Graham had a fourth-quarter 66 yard touchdown to give the Saints the lead, but the Saints ultimately lost 36-32 on a last-second 49ers touchdown pass. Graham finished with five receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.[35] After the season, Graham was ranked 14th overall by his peers in the 2012 NFL Top 100 annual player poll, which ranks the 100 best players in the NFL based on votes from NFL players and coaches.[36]

2012 seasonEdit

Graham started the 2012 season with three consecutive games with a touchdown. In those three games, he totaled 17 receptions for 172 receiving yards.[37] In Week 10, against the Atlanta Falcons, he had seven receptions for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns in the 31–27 victory.[38] For his efforts against the Falcons, he earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[39] In the regular season finale against the Carolina Panthers, he had nine receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown.[40] Overall, Graham's 2012 season was productive, ending the year with 85 receptions for 982 yards and 9 touchdowns.[41]

2013 seasonEdit

Graham started the 2013 season with 45 receiving yards and a touchdown in a victory over the Atlanta Falcons.[42] In the next game, a 16–14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 10 receptions for 179 receiving yards and a touchdown.[43] In the following game, a 31–7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, he had nine receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns.[44] He earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Cardinals.[45] His hot streak continued in the next game against the Miami Dolphins when he had four receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns.[46] For his great performances in the month of September, he earned NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors.[47] He recorded his fourth consecutive game with over 100 receiving yards in the 26–18 victory over the Chicago Bears with 10 receptions for 135 receiving yards.[48] However, in the next game against the New England Patriots, he was targeted six times but did not record a reception in the loss.[49] He was able to rebound in the next game against the Buffalo Bills with two receiving touchdowns in the 35–17 victory.[50] In the following game, a 26–20 loss to the New York Jets, he had nine receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns.[51] During the second divisional matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Graham became known for his trademark touchdown celebration where he would slam dunk the football over the goalpost, a reference to his basketball background. He infamously bent the goalpost celebrating his touchdown against the Falcons.[52][53] Prior to the 2014 season, the NFL banned goalpost dunks and made it punishable as "unsportsmanlike conduct," which results in a penalty and a fine.[54] Graham became the first player penalized under the new rule and was fined $30,000 for dunking during the preseason game against the Tennessee Titans in August 2014.[55][56] On December 8, against the Carolina Panthers, Graham recorded his fifth game with two receiving touchdowns on the season.[57] In the 2013 season, Graham recorded 1,215 receiving yards and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 16.[58] He received numerous accolades for his successful 2013 season. He was named to the Pro Bowl, earned First Team All-Pro Honors, and was ranked #10 by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2014.[59][60][61]

The Saints recorded an 11–5 record and made the playoffs.[62] In the Divisional Round, a 26–24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Graham had three receptions for 44 yards.[63] In the Divisional Round loss to the Seattle Seahawks, he had a single reception for eight yards.[64]

2014 seasonEdit

Under the terms of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, Graham became a free agent after the 2013 season. On February 28, 2014, it was reported that the Saints had placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on him, meaning that he would be allowed to negotiate and sign an offer sheet with another team; the Saints would then have the right to match that offer sheet and retain Graham, and if they did not, the other team would owe the Saints two first round draft picks. No such competing offer sheet was signed, but negotiations between Graham and the Saints were complicated by disagreement as to whether Graham should be treated for bargaining purposes as a tight end (his official position) or as a wide receiver (where he often lines up during games), since the difference in applicable compensation under the franchise tag is more than $5 million for the year. On July 2, 2014, an arbitrator ruled that Graham was indeed a tight end for franchise tag purposes.[65][66]

Graham appealed the arbitrator's ruling to preserve his position while negotiations continued. On July 15, the last day for a new multiyear contract to be negotiated under league rules, the Saints and Graham agreed on a new four-year deal with $21 million guaranteed and a total value of $40 million over four years, making Graham the highest-paid tight end in the league at the time.[67]

Graham started the 2014 season with eight receptions for 82 yards in the overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1.[68] In the next game, a 26–24 loss to the Cleveland Browns, he had 10 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns.[69] On November 9, against the San Francisco 49ers, he had 10 receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns.[70] Two weeks later, against the Baltimore Ravens, he recorded two more receiving touchdowns in the 34–27 loss.[71] In the 2014 season, Graham recorded 85 receptions for 889 yards and ten touchdowns.[72] He was named to the Pro Bowl for the 2014 season and was ranked #31 by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015.[73][74]

Seattle SeahawksEdit

2015 seasonEdit

On March 10, 2015, Graham was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for center Max Unger and the Seahawks' first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.[75][76] Graham wore number #88 in Seattle as number 80 was retired in honor of Steve Largent. In his Seattle Seahawks debut, he had six receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown in the overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams.[77] Two weeks later, in the 26–0 victory over the Chicago Bears, he had seven receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown.[78] On October 18, against the Carolina Panthers, he had eight receptions for a season-high 140 receiving yards in the 27–23 loss.[79] On November 29, 2015, Graham suffered a torn right patellar tendon. The next day on November 30, 2015, Graham was placed on injured reserve.[80] Overall, he finished his first season with the Seattle Seahawks with 48 receptions for 605 receiving yards and two touchdowns.[81]

2016 seasonEdit

After a slow start to the 2016 season with 53 yards in his first two games, Graham had six receptions for 100 receiving yards against the San Francisco 49ers.[82] He followed that up with six receptions for 113 yards against the New York Jets.[83] On November 7, against the Buffalo Bills, he had eight receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the 31–25 victory.[84] Over the last eight games of the regular season, he had 27 receptions for 378 receiving yards and three touchdowns.[85] In 2016, Graham finished the season with 923 yards, 65 receptions, and 6 touchdowns. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl as a member of the Seahawks.[86]

The Seahawks finished 10–5–1 and won the NFC West.[87] In the Wild Card Round victory over the Detroit Lions, he had three receptions for 37 yards.[88] In the Divisional Round against the Atlanta Falcons, he had three receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown in the 36–20 loss.[89]

2017 seasonEdit

Graham started the 2017 season off with only nine receiving yards on four receptions combined in the first two games, but he recorded 11 receptions for 133 receiving yards in the two games after.[90][91] In the next game against the Los Angeles Rams, he scored his first touchdown of the season.[92] In the next game against the New York Giants, he found the endzone again as part of a 51-yard performance.[93] In the following game, a 41–38 victory over the Houston Texans, he recorded two touchdowns.[94] On November 9, against the Arizona Cardinals, he added two more receiving touchdowns in the 22–16 victory.[95] On December 19, 2017, Graham was named to his fifth Pro Bowl.[96] Overall, he finished the 2017 season with 57 receptions for 520 receiving yards and ten touchdowns.[97] He was ranked 89th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.[98]

Green Bay PackersEdit

On March 16, 2018, Graham signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Green Bay Packers.[99][100]

On September 9, 2018, on Sunday Night Football against the Chicago Bears, Graham was limited to 2 receptions for 8 yards in his Packers debut.[101] On September 30, 2018, in a game against the Buffalo Bills, Graham caught his first touchdown as his member of the Packers, a 1-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, which was also his 70th career touchdown reception.[102]

NFL statisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP REC TGTS YDS AVG LNG TD FD FUM LST
2010 NO 15 31 43 357 11.5 52 5 21 1 0
2011 NO 16 99 149 1,310 13.2 59 11 74 1 1
2012 NO 15 85 135 982 11.6 46 9 59 1 0
2013 NO 16 86 144 1,215 14.1 56 16 61 0 0
2014 NO 16 85 124 889 10.5 29 10 54 2 2
2015 SEA 11 48 73 605 12.6 45 2 29 0 0
2016 SEA 16 65 95 923 14.2 42 6 45 2 2
2017 SEA 16 57 98 520 9.1 33 10 32 0 0
2018 GB 6 27 45 349 12.9 54 1 15 0 0
Total 127 583 899 7,149 12.3 59 70 390 7 5
Source: NFL.com

PostseasonEdit

Year Team GP REC TGTS YDS AVG LNG TD FD FUM LST
2011 NO 2 12 19 158 13.2 66 3 8 0 0
2013 NO 2 4 10 52 13.0 21 0 2 0 0
2016 SEA 2 6 7 56 9.8 14 1 2 0 0
Total 6 22 36 269 12.2 66 4 12 0 0
Source: pro-football-reference.com

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit