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Saints' Graham vows to ditch TD celebration after penalties

Old habits might die hard, but apparently a couple of unsportsmanlike penalties and an earful from an angry coach are enough to modify an NFL superstar's behavior.

New Orleans Saints All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham, penalized twice in Friday's preseason game against the Tennessee Titans for dunking the ball over the goalpost after scoring touchdowns, conceded he needs to find a new celebration, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

"For four years and however many touchdowns, I always dunked it," Graham said. "I just got to stop doing that now."

Graham was also seen catching heat on the sideline from head coach Sean Payton.

Saints' Lack Of Discipline Leads To 22 Penalties

Graham and Payton met over the weekend, the Times-Picayune reported, and apparently found common ground on the issue.

"I'm his biggest fan," Payton said. "I'm sure as we get going here that type of thing isn't going to be a problem. Rules are changing constantly whether we like them or voted for them or any of those things. He's outstanding. He'll be ready to go."

Graham was a two-sport star in football and basketball at the University of Miami, and though he's fashioned an excellent career as a professional on the gridiron, his signature dunk -- first popularized by another two-sport college star, the recently retired tight end Tony Gonzalez -- was an apparent nod to his hardwood roots.

The routine had seemed little more than a humorous footnote to six more points for the high-scoring Saints offense, but a bizarre incident late last season may have been a tipping point in the NFL's long-running game of Whac-A-Mole to stamp out inflammatory and overly orchestrated touchdown celebrations.

Graham caused a brief delay when he bent a goalpost with his celebratory dunk after scoring a 44-yard touchdown against the Falcons in November, and the league responded in the offseason by banning the move altogether.

Whether Graham disregarded or simply forgot the new rule on Friday is unclear -- Payton's remarks seem to indicate Graham may have brushed aside the edict in the inconsequential preseason game. But, Graham seems to have resolved to break himself of the practice.

We'll be watching once the regular season kicks off. The Saints open the season at Atlanta on Sept. 7.

Join the discussion

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satchel0805 August 18 2014 at 10:22 PM

I spent too many years watching the marvelous Barry Sanders score, toss the ball to the ref, and go to the bench until the offense played again. Pure class.

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3 replies
domingbfan August 18 2014 at 7:46 PM

kc looked great last night early ,officials must have beeen paid by vegas.

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1 reply
chuckpitboss domingbfan August 19 2014 at 2:31 PM

You got to be kidding. Sports books are not going to take bets on games that are meaningless and designed solely for coaches to see what new players will stay on the final roster. Suggesting, as you are, that officials are taking bribe is what out in extreme left field. Any official that does take money for influencing play would be immediately and permanently expelled from the league and might face criminal charges

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theomegaman72 August 18 2014 at 9:57 PM

wow...that's fascinati.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Buckingham's August 18 2014 at 9:41 PM

Yeah, I can see how this is a far more serious crime than say...bank robbery, murder, kidnapping, or rape.

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1 reply
pmjohnson1717 Buckingham's August 19 2014 at 8:31 AM

You have no point.

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Living Legend August 18 2014 at 9:13 PM

You don't need to celebrate everytime you do what you are overpaid to do. Grow up.

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3 replies
investigatorkch August 18 2014 at 7:52 PM

typcial ahole thug

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3 replies
dduval9967 August 18 2014 at 7:47 PM

how about acting like you have been there before

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1 reply
Paul dduval9967 August 18 2014 at 8:00 PM

You mean like every other football player that scores a touchdown? Or just those that "celebrate" after each tackle they make?And what happens if someone has " never been there before"?

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joe August 19 2014 at 8:40 AM

What these players should do to celebrate is shake all their players in the huddles hands, the old fashion way. That would look cool.

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joe August 19 2014 at 8:39 AM

He is being foolish but I think the fine and penalty was because this slows down the game. What really slows down the game are the dumb penalties rules against defences now. That slows the game. Durring preseason the games are about 15 minutes longer due to penalties.

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savannahswithgod August 19 2014 at 8:55 AM

Hell NFL, you are completely stupid. What the Hell is wrong with a dunk. Well time to get out the old NFL Sports Illustrated game and have some NFL, about the only type I want these days. Vikes win Superbowl again, 9 in a row. Go Joe Kapp and the Purple People eaters.

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1 reply
chuckpitboss savannahswithgod August 19 2014 at 2:35 PM

Really? Just when did the Vikings win the super bowl? Joe Kapp and his stooges didn't and couldn't.

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