Former NFL tight end Jimmy Graham could have played professional football last year but he said Thursday on the Pat McAfee Show the right opportunity did not arise for him to return to the sport.
Graham was on the show discussing his recent cycling injury and his dream to sail around the world but mentioned the NFL interest in an organic fashion.
“I was still thinking about playing last year and ended up turning down a couple teams,” Graham said. “For me, it’s about the right situation and the ability to mentor some young guys and and obviously just to fades phase in the redzone because I’ve always been pretty good at that.”
Graham had a remarkable football career in the NFL, especially considering his played only one year in college. The 6-foot-7 Graham was a basketball player at Miami for his first four years on campus. He averaged 4.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game for the Hurricanes in his career.
After his basketball eligibility expired, he played one season of college football in Coral Gables. Graham had 17 catches for 213 yards and five touchdowns. It wasn’t much but it was enough for the New Orleans Saints to select him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
His five seasons in New Orleans turned him into one of the best tight ends in the league. He earned All-Pro second team in 2011 and All-Pro first team in 2013. In 2013, Graham caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and a league-high 16 touchdowns.
The Saints traded Graham to the Seattle Seahawks in early 2015 for Max Unger and a first round pick. In three seasons with Seattle, Graham made two Pro Bowls with the team. Graham played two seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He then wrapped up his career with the Chicago Bears in 2020 and 2021. He was nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award both years he was in the Windy City.
As for his life now, Graham is training to sail around the world solo. His biking incident occurred while he was training for this mission.
“I was probably going 20 (mph), he was probably going 20-25 (mph),” Grahman said. “And I ripped all the skin off my back, I got that big laceration and, luckily, I had a helmet on.”