Saints bring TE Jimmy Graham back into the fold

Published 3:29 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have brought back former tight end Jimmy Graham and also agreed to contract terms with guard Trai Turner.

The moves came Tuesday as veterans reported for the club’s training camp at team headquarters.

The 36-year-old Graham, who did not play last season, became an unusual success story early in his career, having played only one season of college football at Miami — where he was a four-year basketball player — before the Saints made him a third-round draft choice in 2010.

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In just his second NFL season, with Drew Brees as his quarterback, the 6-foot-7 Graham caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named to his first of five Pro Bowls. He had another banner season in 2013, with 1,215 yards and a career-high 16 TDs receiving.

His run in New Orleans ended when he was traded in 2015 to Seattle, where he twice more caught 10 TD passes in a season but never reached the 1,000-yard receiving plateau in his three seasons with the Seahawks.

Graham also spent two seasons each with Green Bay and Chicago. In his final season with the Bears in 2021, Graham caught 14 passes for 167 yards and three TDs.

In 12 NFL seasons, Graham has career totals of 713 receptions, 8,506 yards and 85 touchdowns. His touchdown total is fourth all-time among tight ends behind Antonio Gates (116), Tony Gonzalez (111) and Rob Gronkowski (93). He had 51 touchdowns in his first run with the Saints, which ranks second on the franchise’s career list.

The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Turner, a former LSU standout and a starter throughout his career, was a Carolina Panthers’ third-round draft choice in 2014. He spent his first six NFL seasons with Carolina but now is on his fourth team in as many seasons after spending 2020 with the Los Angeles Chargers, 2021 with Pittsburgh and last season with Washington.