Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham met the media after Tuesday’s OTA, the first time he’s talked in person to Seattle reporters at-large since his trade from New Orleans.
Graham talked about his transition, his budding chemistry with quarterback Russell Wilson, and more. Here’s what he said.
How he feels he’s fitting in: “Everything’s been amazing so far — it really has. From the guys to the coaches to the training staff, everyone’s been truly amazing, and it’s been a great transition so far.”
What’s it been like getting to know Wilson and Wilson come to Miami for the funeral last week: “It’s been incredible — it really has. Clearly, I’ve watched him from afar as a player and seen his growth throughout the years, but to walk in the building and see his character and to really experience who he is as a man, has been awesome. Last week, what he did not only meant a lot to myself, but my extended family. To know that he and the entire Seahawks [organization] was behind myself and my family.”
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Is this what you expected?: “This place has exceeded my expectations. By far. Number one, look at these facilities — I think they’re some of the nicest in football. But beyond that, how the team’s run — the players on the team hold each other accountable, and it doesn’t matter where we are. Whether it’s on the field, or if we’re out there in Maui, we compete to try to win.”
On how important it was getting out to Maui with his new teammates: “For me, it was very important. I’ve played against them a couple of time these last couple years, and I think we’ve had some chippier moments. That’s the game, and on Sundays, I take my job very seriously. I don’t play any games on Sundays. So, to go to Maui and show them who I am as a person, and show them that I’m all about team… I could care less about myself. Really, for them to just see that…. well, I can’t say that [laughs]… for them to see that I’m a good guy was really important.”
On if he has concerns going from a high-volume passing game to a more balanced offense: “No, not at all. I know I’m probably not going to get targeted 130 times. But that’s not my concern; I just want to win games. And I know there will be times — big moments in a game where I’m going to have to go out there and make a play. That’s what I’m focusing on — making sure that when the ball comes my way, I’m ready to take hold of every opportunity, and to not let any of these opportunities pass me by.”
On if he was making a statement with all those spikes after TDs: “No, no, no… that’s just what I do. That’s what I’ve done, even in the games. Well, now it’s illegal to dunk, but we’ll see about that.”
On how he will improve as a blocker: “Personally, I’m excited to block. When you go in the game and you’re guarded by corners and safties for most of your career and you keep getting doubled, that’s never a good thing. I know that’s just going to help this offense out. It’ll help give looks to where guys can’t stack the box with 10 guys. So for me, it’s all positive. I can’t wait. That’s what I’ve been focusing on since I got here. The routes and the passing offense, that obviously comes natural. So for me, it about focusing on what they’re trying to do here, which is the running game. It’s thr staple of this offense and I’m proud the be a part of it.”
On how he would assess himself as a blocker: “I could show you. Listen man, I’m 270 pounds. I can block anybody I want to. It’s all about want to. We’ll see come this Sunday.”
On if he has a point to prove on blocking: “Not really. I’m gonna do what they tell me to do. If that’s go out and score, go out and catch or go out and hit somebody, I’m gonna do it.”
On if the run game here can free him up in the passing game: “That’s why I’m excited to be a part of it. No. 1, with maybe multiple tight end sets, that’s gonna just open it up. These last couple of years for me, playing against guys who aren’t concerned about the run at all. They know I will try to do a double move and run this go route. It makes it more difficult. So this will just make my job easier when it comes to the passing game.”
On similarities between Wilson and Drew Brees: “I do. I’ve spoken to Russ about Drew. But also they are very different. Russ’s ability to extend a play is unbelievable. Out there in New Orleans, everything was about timing so when you hit that step, that ball is coming. You know the ball is coming out. And now when you hit a step and look back, maybe he saw something and now he’s scrambling so there’s a second opportunity. This offense and this team is dangerous on those second opportunities. When he gets out of the pocket and he’s able to work and kind of play street ball, which I’ve always been pretty good at, the offense is extremely explosive.”
On opening up at the White House deal about his story, how important was sharing that?: “It’s who I am as a person. I think sometimes I don’t express that enough. I do a lot of charity stuff, and I try to reach out and share my story and help kids out however I can. But I think sometimes it’s lost on, a lot of people are all about going to another country and adopting a child or going to save a kid in another country. There’s so many kids in this country who unfortunately just get the raw end of the deal and really don’t have an opportunity to be great or to be what they could be.”
On the staged fight in Maui with Bruce Irvin: “That was a real fight, man. Nah, that’s just how this team is, honestly. They just have a good time. It honestly feels like I’m back in college. That’s how close each and every person is on this team. The way this team is and the way this team is run is how it should be for the NFL. It’s such a sense of family here and brotherhood. It’s been incredible. It really has.”
Have all the introductions gone smoothly? There were some guys who were critical of you when you were playing for another team: “Yeah, everything has been good so far. I haven’t heard any complaints. That’s just how it is. When you come from another team and when you talk as much as I do out there on the field, you’re going to have people who don’t like you until you get on their team. I’m just going to come out here and just show who I am and prove who I am and help them in anyway I can.”
On if his shoulder is healthy now: “Yeah, yeah. That’s in the past. That was 10 weeks of terror right there. I rehabbed it completely and everything’s been fine. I’ve great. Very healthy, which is always a good thing.”
On if he had surgery: “No. No. That was almost. But I was able to get by.”
On how his mindset changes in the red zone: “My mindset? Honestly, I’m just bigger than everybody, so it’s easy.”
On flying around Washington: “Yeah, the state of Washington is gorgeous. Really is. I got my sea-plane license in a Beaver (a DHC-2 de havilland Beaver Seaplane) from 1950-something, which is pretty neat. Been flying around the Olympics. I think this weekend I am going to go flying with Mr. Nordstrom up in the Vancouver Islands, so that’s going to be exciting.”
On if the Saints or Seahawks ever expressed reservations about his flying: “No. No, not really. I mean, I always tell them that No. 1, I love my life. I’m not going to do anything to put that in jeopardy. I love where my life is right now, and I’m not going to change or do anything stupid that I shouldn’t be doing. I mean, I’ve been trained by the best. I always make sure that I always keep up on all my certifications so I can be as safe as possible, in everything that I do. Most of the time when I’m flying I’m wearing a parachute anyways. So I’ll find my way to the ground some how.
On if that’s ever been a contract issue:“No, not at all.”
On how close he was to shutting it down last season because of the shoulder injury: “You know, we … we discussed it a couple times. But that’s just who I am as a person. I’ve fought through a lot of injuries the last couple years. I just want to be on the field. I just want to play, for the guys. You know, coming off a new contract (in New Orleans) I wasn’t just going to be sitting on the sidelines not helping. Or — you know, we were struggling at times last year — be the guy that bows out. That’s just not who I am as a person, so I just kept fighting through it. Looking back, maybe some of those games it wasn’t too smart to be out there. But, you know, that’s behind me.”