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.
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. He set the Saints franchise record for receptions in a season while also tying the Saints franchise record for touchdowns in a season. Graham is also second all-time for most receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end in a single season.
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.Contents
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 and at Charis Prep in Wilson, North Carolina, and earned a basketball scholarship at Miami.College career
Graham played basketball for the Miami Hurricanes men's basketball team from 2005 to 2009. 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. He played tight end and finished the season with 17 receptions for 213 yards and five touchdowns in appearances in 13 games.College football statistics 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 career 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 1⁄4 in
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. Graham was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, with the 95th overall selection. He signed a four-year, $2.445 million rookie contract on July 28, 2010.New Orleans Saints Graham with the Saints in 2012 2010 season
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. In a Week 9 game at Carolina—his first NFL game in his home state—Graham caught a 19-yard pass to score his first career NFL touchdown, contributing to a 34-3 Saints rout. Graham finished the 2010 season with 31 catches for 356 yards and 5 touchdowns.2011 season
In 2011—his first full year as a starter—Graham had 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns and made his first Pro Bowl. 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). 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. In the divisional round playoff against the 49ers, Graham had a 4th-quarter 66 yard touchdown to give the Saints the lead, but the Saints ultimately lost 36-32 on a last-second 49ers touchdown pass.2012 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. He was left off the list in 2013, but on the 2014 list he was ranked 10th overall, becoming the first tight end to make the top ten of this list. His 2012 season was productive, ending the year with 85 receptions for 982 yards and 9 touchdowns.2013 season
Graham became known for his trademark touchdown celebration where he would slam dunk the football over the goalpost, a reference to his basketball background. During the 2013 season, he infamously bent the goalpost celebrating his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. 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. 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.
In the 2013 season, Graham lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 16.2014 season
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.
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 4-year deal with $21 million guaranteed and a total value of $40 million over 4 years, making Graham the highest-paid tight end in the league at the time.
In the 2014 season, Graham would record 85 receptions for 889 yards and ten touchdowns.Seattle Seahawks 2015 season
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. Graham wore number #88 in Seattle as number 80 was retired in honor of Steve Largent. On November 29, 2015, Graham suffered a torn right patellar tendon. The next day on November 30, 2015, Graham was placed on injured reserve.2016 season
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. He helped the Seahawks reach the Divisional Round of the playoffs that year, where their season would end against the eventual NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.2017 season
On December 19, 2017, Graham was named to his fifth Pro Bowl.Green Bay Packers
On March 16, 2018, Graham signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Green Bay Packers.NFL career statistics Regular season 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 2 8 12 103 12.9 34 0 3 0 0 Total 123 564 873 6,903 12.2 59 69 378 7 5 Source: NFL.com Postseason 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 References