When the Seattle Seahawks traded with New Orleans in 2015 for Jimmy Graham, it was easy to imagine quarterback Russell Wilson finding his tight end down in the end zone.
But for Graham and many Seattle fans, his first season was a disappointment, cut short in November with a torn patellar tendon. Returning in time to start the 2016 season, Graham was selected to his first Pro Bowl in the blue and green. Now acclimated to a different offense and signal caller, the hopes are high for Graham in his third season in Seattle.
And no one expects more than his quarterback.
“Jimmy looks great,” Wilson said during his Thursday press conference. “He’s explosive and making all the plays. He’s such a great receiver, great player, and he can do it all. He’s an all pro tight end and he can make a lot of plays for us so we need him.”
Wilson and Graham worked together extensively this offseason, but both had some individual goals as well. The quarterback and his tight end each shed significant weight in preparation for the new year.
Graham spoke with 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Monday and said he was down 20 pounds from last year, now tipping the scales at a svelte 260. He credited former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez who advised him to shave off the weight as he got older.
Wilson also worked diligently this offseason to slim down, “limiting” himself to nine meals a day at “just” 4800 calories. But it isn’t just the weight loss that is different heading into this season, both players are finally on the mend.
“I think, also, Jimmy is really healthy right now,” Wilson explained. “Last year, he was coming off an injury in training camp and that whole spring, so we didn’t get as much practice. I mean, we were able to throw a little bit and catch and stand there and everything else. But this offseason, we were able to train a lot. He looks really good, he’s super excited about having a great year. He’s an exciting player, that’s for sure.”
Now this year, it’s Wilson who is coming off an injury-riddled season, but finally feeling 100 percent. Able to train with Graham all offseason, Wilson was asked about the chemistry with his star tight end.
“I keep it simple,” Wilson said. “When you throw it to them, they catch it. That’s usually the telltale sign more than anything else.”
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