Jimmy Graham met with the media on Saturday for the first time since signing with the New Orleans Saints to discuss his reunion with the Saints, his reaction to the Seattle trade in 2015 and more.
Graham spoke about how amazing it is to be back home in New Orleans and play for the Saints again before he retired.
“It’s great to be back home. Driving back to this facility on Monday brought back beyond beautiful moments for me...It meant everything for me to play for this city, so to come back here and get those memories of the amazing wins, amazing people, amazing fans is truly special...Words can’t describe what it’s like to be gone for that long from something you love.”
He also spoke about wanting to come back to New Orleans and how he had offers from other playoff teams.
“I’ve wanted to come home for a long time. Last year I had some conversations and determined that I really didn’t want to play anywhere else. I had a couple teams who were reaching out, all teams that made the playoffs, but I couldn’t see myself wearing another jersey again. I just wanted, hopefully if there was another opportunity to come back home to make it happen here, and it happened, and I’m here now.”
“I’ve been trying to come home for a long time” - Jimmy Graham pic.twitter.com/KSLl5BpNi7— NOF (@nofnetwork) July 29, 2023
When asked about his reaction to being traded to Seattle in 2015, Graham had an emotional response.
“Honestly, I never thought I’d leave this place. Obviously, this is a business, you know, this league is a business, and I woke up to the part of the business that hurts. For me, it was very difficult, but I did know I was going to a Super Bowl contender and knew I had a possibility to make a run at a ring which has always been a goal for me...At first it was very difficult because of my connection with Drew and all the people in this building, they were like family. For a guy like me who doesn’t have a lot of family, it was definitely a difficult time for me.”
Jimmy Graham on his reaction to being traded to Seattle in 2015 pic.twitter.com/LG2s0J2pEz— NOF (@nofnetwork) July 29, 2023
2015 contract dispute
Graham was asked about his contract negotiations with the Saints the led to his trade, and he said it was blown way out of proportion.
“The issue in general got blown out of proportion. I just didn’t want to be franchised. At that point, I had played my rookie deal out. I never asked for a dollar and a lot of guys had taken early deals, and I never did. I just played with it. But that’s all history now, that was a long time ago and a few contracts ago. Personally, I’m happy to be back.
Jimmy Graham speaks on the TE or WR contract negotiations that led to the trade pic.twitter.com/v8cnNGGwGu— NOF (@nofnetwork) July 29, 2023
Phone call with Drew Brees
After signing with the Saints earlier in the week, Graham said he received a phone call from Saints legend, Drew Brees.
“He was, let’s just say shocked for sure. Tomorrow we’ll have a conversation and I’ll be able to relay some things to him. We’ve always communicated over the years and he’s an older brother to me. Everything he taught me, he brought me under his wing, and now I have the chance to be in the reverse role for other guys on this team and it’s interesting and fun to be able to do the things that were fun for me.”
What he brings to the table for the Saints
“I’ve matured a little bit since the last time I was here. Having the opportunity to get into a tight end room that’s super talented, super diverse and has the opportunity to do a lot for this team and this franchise, I think I have a lot of knowledge to share. I’m feeling better than ever, and I’m still 6’7 and I like the red zone.”
"Im still 6-7 and I like the red zone," - Jimmy Graham pic.twitter.com/o0pLQxqAK0— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) July 29, 2023
Retiring a Saint
One of my favorite quotes from the entire press conference was when Graham said he talked to his agent and told him he wants to retire a Saints or never play football again.
“I talked to my agent and made it clear that if I wasn’t going to retire a Saints, then I didn’t want to play again.”
Jimmy Graham: I talked to my agent and made it clear that if I wasn’t going to retire a Saint, then I didn’t want to play again.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) July 29, 2023
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