New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham acknowledged he has to "stop" celebrating touchdown catches by dunking the football through the goalpost -- his signature celebration that is now a penalty this year.
"For four years and however many touchdowns I always dunked it," Graham said Sunday, according to The Times-Picayune's Larry Holder. "I just got to stop doing that now."
Graham had publicly irked Saints head coach Sean Payton after he dunked the ball twice in celebration during the Saints' 31-24 preseason win over the Tennessee Titans on Friday. Payton chased Graham down the sideline after he dunked for the second time on Friday, and the two said they met over the weekend to discuss the matter.
"I'm his biggest fan," Payton said. "I'm sure as we get going here that type of thing isn't going to be a problem. Rules are changing constantly whether we like them or voted for them or any of those things. He's outstanding. He'll be ready to go."
Graham, a former college basketball player at Miami, has been one of the most prolific "dunkers" in the NFL. Dunking over the goalpost became a penalty when the NFL ruled this offseason that the ball could not be used as a prop.
In addition to the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, Graham was also flagged for offensive pass interference and a false start during the Saints' win Friday. The 27-year-old Graham has emerged as an offensive force with New Orleans, catching 41 touchdown passes over the past four seasons -- including a league-high 16 last season.
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