Jimmy Graham shocked by trade, but ‘I realized I was going to the best team in football’

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SEATTLE — Tight end Jimmy Graham said Thursday he was on a beach in Florida and shocked to learn he had been traded by New Orleans Tuesday, but when he was told he was going to the Seahawks “it definitely put a grin on my face.”

He said Saints coach Sean Payton called him with the news.

“It was definitely shocking … I was actually on the beach down in Florida and I got the call from Sean Payton letting me know that I’d just been traded,” Graham said in a conference phone call with Seattle sports writers.

“Once Sean said I had been traded, I was going through the list of everyone who had a bunch of cap space, like Jacksonville or Oakland. But when he told me Seattle, it definitely put a grin on my face. It was moments of shock, but once that shock cleared, I realized I was going to the best team in football.”

Graham and the Seahawks haven’t always seen eye-to-eye across the field. Graham and cornerback Richard Sherman got into a pregame shouting match in 2013. Bruce Irvin and Graham have also been involved minor fracas.

Graham dismissed that as “just part of the game.”

“You have to aggressive in everything you do,” he said. “I’m excited to really get to know these guys and become one of their brothers and work towards winning a championship.”

Asked what he thought he could bring to the Seahawks offense, he replied that “I’ve always been good” at getting open in the red zone.

It was pointed out that the Seahawks throw the ball far less than the Saints, and he was asked if he could adjust to that.

“For me, it’s all about winning,” he said. “If a team needs me to catch 100 footballs or a team needs me to catch 30 … I’m going to do it. I’m going to do whatever it takes to win.”

Graham said “the first guy to reach out to me” after the trade was Russell Wilson. “He called me right away. Talked about his goals and his team’s goals. I’m really looking forward to getting with him.”

ESPN Insider John Clayton reported that Graham is scheduled to make $27 million over the next three years. Graham, 28, caught 85 passes for the Saints in 2014 for 889 yards.

Graham made the Pro-Bowl in 2011, 2013 and 2014. He has previously battled minor shoulder and foot injuries. But he is considered one the best tight ends in the league.



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