2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Surging Saints TE Graham a big concern for Miami

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-29 12:22

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Jimmy Graham insists he isn't miffed about his lack of a contract extension, even as his highlight-reel catches and gaudy statistics put him on track to be one of the best tight ends the NFL has seen.

Then again, if Graham were angry, it might not be such a bad thing for the New Orleans Saints.

Graham, who'll seek a third-straight 100-yard receiving game when New Orleans (3-0) hosts the Miami Dolphins (3-0) on Monday night, says he thrives on anger on the field. That would explain the force of nature he's resembled in the Saints' air attack since Tampa Bay's attempts to intimidate him backfired so badly a couple weeks ago.

``If somebody hits me big, you can probably tell I'm probably jabbering a few things back at him, telling him that, `I'm going to be here all day,''' the 6-foot-7, 265-pound Graham said. ``I find it as a challenge and I invite all of it. ... It gets me angry, which is good.''

In helping the Saints to victories over the Buccaneers and Cardinals in Weeks 2 and 3, Graham made 19 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns. Much of that production came after Graham was folded backward on a penalized blast to his head by Tampa Bay's Ahmad Black.

What looked at first like a knockout blow produced an opposite result. Now, stopping Graham has become the problem of another Florida team.

``His production over the last two weeks has been off the charts,'' Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. ``He obviously has great size and weight. He seems to be a natural running down the field and going up and catching the ball. He can catch the ball in traffic. He can catch the ball when he gets hit. He has excellent concentration and hands. His size and length are an issue, and it's a concern when you go play him.''

Many Miami sports fans are familiar with Graham's character and toughness. He was abandoned as a child before being adopted by a woman who counseled Graham's youth group at a North Carolina church. The stability his adoptive mother provided helped him earn a basketball scholarship to Miami. He was a physical power forward, and now offers a self-effacing smile while describing himself as a player who had more fouls than points.

He thrived as a student and athlete at Miami, and Hurricanes fans, including university president and former Clinton cabinet member Donna Shalala, held him up as an inspiration. Football coaches saw his ability to run the floor and grab rebounds, and figured he'd make a great tight end. He gave it a shot in 2009, his final year of NCAA eligibility, and Saints scouts weren't the only ones who noticed.

He could have become a Dolphin if Saints coach Sean Payton hadn't taken Graham off the market in the third round of the 2010 draft. Payton's mentor and former boss, Bill Parcells, was an executive with Miami at the time and had his eye on Graham.

``I do remember 30 seconds after the selection, getting a phone call from Parcells,'' Payton said, adding he could tell Graham was someone Parcells targeted. ``That makes you feel good, rather than him saying, `What did you take him for?' To Jimmy's credit, he's come in and his transition has been fairly quick with maybe the lack of experience that a lot of players would have in college.''

Since 2011 (including playoffs) Graham leads NFL tight ends with 219 catches for 2,808 yards, and leads NFC tight ends with 27 TDs. His numbers might have been even better if not for a wrist injury that led to what would be considered a down year by Graham's standards in 2012: 85 catches, 982 yards, nine TDs.

``It feels good to be healthy. I can't lie about that,'' Graham said. ``This offseason is the hardest that I've worked in not only rehab but just on little things - you know - film room. But I think more than anything, I'm playing with more emotion than I ever have.''

The Saints want to lock down Graham long term, but general manager Mickey Loomis tends to be a deliberate and patient negotiator. The Saints could use the franchise tag to prevent Graham from leaving.

Graham could have held out, but noticed a collective sense of purpose at Saints headquarters as Payton returned from his 2012 bounty ban, and he wanted to be part of it. And like quarterback Drew Brees in 2011, Graham has faith the Saints will ultimately treat him right.

``For me, it really is all football,'' Graham said. ``I'm a very hungry player right now.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tharold SimonOct 20 11:04p

Seattle Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (ankle) and CB Byron Maxwell (calf) may be able to play in Week 7, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

A.J. GreenOct 20 10:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said he will play Sunday, Oct. 26, against the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

Marcus GilbertOct 20 10:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert (concussion) is out for the remainder of the team's Week 7 game after being diagnosed with a concussion.

Ahmad BradshawOct 20 08:43p

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw is on pace for a combined 215 rushes and receptions and 1,753 total yards this season.

Devier PoseyOct 20 07:13p

The Houston Texans have declared CB Darryl Morris, WR DeVier Posey, LB Jadeveon Clowney, OT Jeff Adams, S Josh Aubrey, CB Jumal Rolle, QB Tom Savage inactive for Week 7.

Kapri BibbsOct 20 07:13p

Denver Broncos RB Kapri Bibbs was attracting interest from other teams on the practice squad, and the Broncos elevated him to their active roster because they didn't want to [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 20 07:08p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) is expected to be put through a rigorous workout Wednesday, Oct. 22, that will give team officials a better idea of where [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 20 07:07p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) could start in Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys if he looks really good in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22, according to a [ More ]

Ike TaylorOct 20 07:03p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, LB Ryan Shazier, SS Shamarko Thomas, DL Steve McLendon inactive for Week 7.

Jadeveon ClowneyOct 20 07:03p

Houston Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney (knee) will not play in Week 7 because his lateral movement is not where the team wants it to be.

Kapri BibbsOct 20 06:53p

The Denver Broncos signed practice squad RB Kapri Bibbs to their active roster Monday, Oct. 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Daniel KilgoreOct 20 06:53p

San Francisco 49ers C Daniel Kilgore (leg) will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken bone in his left leg during the team's Week 7 game. [ More ]

Zach MillerOct 20 06:43p

Seattle Seahawks TE Zach Miller (ankle) will not be able to play in Week 8.

Derrick ColemanOct 20 06:23p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot) will miss at least six weeks because of a foot injury he suffered in Week 7.

Usama YoungOct 20 06:23p

Oakland Raiders FS Usama Young (knee) will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament in Week 7, according to a source.

S. RichardsonOct 20 06:13p

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Shaquille Richardson (undisclosed) was released from the practice squad injured list with an injury settlement Monday, Oct. 20.

Rey MaualugaOct 20 06:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) is expected to miss a few weeks because of his hamstring injury.

Chris SmithOct 20 06:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars LB Chris Smith was signed from the practice squad to the active roster Monday, Oct. 20.

Tom CrabtreeOct 20 06:03p

The New Orleans Saints re-signed TE Tom Crabtree to their active roster Monday, Oct. 20.

Vontaze BurfictOct 20 05:53p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (neck) did not suffer a concussion in the team's Week 7 game but did suffer a neck injury, according to a team official. Burfict [ More ]

Gerell RobinsonOct 20 05:53p

Carolina Panthers DB Robert Lester, Cleveland Browns TE Gerell Robinson, Dallas Cowboys DT Ken Bishop and LB Korey Toomer and Miami Dolphins DT Deandre Coleman cleared waivers and became [ More ]

Brandon CarrOct 20 05:43p

Dallas Cowboys CB Brandon Carr (hamstring) strained his hamstring in Week 7 against the New York Giants. Carr still played every defensive snap and should be able to play [ More ]

Austin PettisOct 20 05:43p

The St. Louis Rams waived WR Austin Pettis Monday, Oct. 20.

Vincent JacksonOct 20 05:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson's name came up over the weekend in reports that the team was fielding phone calls from interested teams, but head coach Lovie Smith [ More ]

Manti Te'oOct 20 05:23p

San Diego Chargers LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring), CB Brandon Flowers (concussion) and LB Manti Te'o (foot) did not participate in practice Monday, Oct. 20. CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and [ More ]

Matt RyanOct 20 05:23p

Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan was sacked five times as the team's offensive line continues to struggle with injuries and poor play. 'We had way too much pressure,' head [ More ]

T.J. WardOct 20 05:03p

Denver Broncos CB Omar Bolden (concussion), LB Steven Johnson (ankle) didn't practice Monday, Oct. 20. S Quinton Carter (hamstring), CB Chris Harris Jr. (knee), RB Juwan Thompson (knee) and [ More ]

Cullen JenkinsOct 20 05:03p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) has a strained calf and is expected to miss at least two weeks.

Jake LockerOct 20 05:03p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) is scheduled to throw Tuesday, Oct. 21, and the team will see how he responds Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Brian HoyerOct 20 04:53p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer is still the team's starting quarterback even though he struggled in Week 7, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Ahtyba RubinOct 20 04:43p

Cleveland Browns DE Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) received a second option on his injured ankle. Head coach Mike Pettine said surgery for Rubin has not been ruled out.

Jason VerrettOct 20 04:43p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) missed his second game of the year in Week 7 with a shoulder injury, and his absence hurt the team in space against the Kansas City Chiefs.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group