The Chicago Bears reached a deal with tight end Jimmy Graham last week, one that didn’t go over quite so well with Chicago fans.
The deal was a big one, too. Graham signed a two-year, $16 million deal with $9 million guaranteed and a no-trade clause included. Though he’s had some impressive moments throughout his 10-year career in the league, Graham isn’t the same player he once was. Offering up the 33-year-old that much money was a confusing move, to say the least, for many.
Graham, however, isn’t concerned.
“I’m still fast,” Graham said Thursday, via ESPN. “I still have the ability to make big plays.”
Graham was selected in the third round of the 2010 draft by the New Orleans Saints, and spent his first six years there while earning three Pro Bowl nods and making a name for himself as one of the better tight ends in the league.
Yet after his three-season stint with the Seattle Seahawks, things trended south upon arrival in Green Bay. Graham recorded just 38 receptions for 447 yards and three touchdowns last season with the Packers, his worst output since his rookie season.
The team released him earlier this month, something that hit him hard.
“Obviously, it was a tough pill to swallow,” Graham said, via ESPN. “It was the first time I lost my job. And I work extremely hard. I’ve sacrificed everything for this game. I’ve given it everything I have, and obviously to go through that, it was difficult.”
He also, though, believes it “lit a fire” in him.
After a few rough years, Graham said he is more than ready to produce at the level he once did earlier in his career, be that with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles — who was traded from Jacksonville to Chicago last week, setting up a potential positional battle — at the helm of the offense.
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch Trubisky over the past few years,” Graham said, via ESPN. “I mean, the kid’s got a lot of talent, obviously. What he did two years ago and how he dominated was exciting to see. As well as what Nick Foles has done in this league with winning a Super Bowl. I've got a lot of confidence in our coaching staff and our quarterback room, and I'm excited to work with these guys.
“Obviously, that’s kind of one of the big stories this offseason is our quarterback room, but I’m excited to work with both of them and to see where I can help both of them and where we can all get on the same page.”
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