Seahawks activate TE Jimmy Graham, another step in recovery

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Jimmy Graham jogged out wearing his white Seattle practice uniform as usual on Wednesday.

Except this time, Graham was wearing his helmet, too.

''When you are away from it for as long as I've been, it's very sweet when you get the opportunity to do it again,'' Graham said.

Graham was activated off the physically unable to perform list by the Seahawks, another step in his recovery from his major knee injury last season. Coach Pete Carroll kept saying Graham was inching closer to a return, and one day after running back Thomas Rawls got back on the field, Graham joined in.

Graham went through a light practice, doing some positional drills but not taking part in any full team work. It was his first time on the field with his teammates since Week 12 of last season when he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in a game against Pittsburgh.

Graham had surgery almost immediately after the injury and his right knee was completely immobilized for 11 to 12 weeks. The recovery from a patellar tendon tear can sometimes take up to a year but Graham was back on the field in less than nine months.

''There were some dark days. It's been eight months and it's been a constant eight months,'' Graham said. ''I've never been through something where every day you had to do something for it. Every day you wake up and until you go to bed you're doing some type of rehab. It's been like that for me for eight months and it will continue to be like that for me for the next eight months. It's something I'm always going to have to pay attention to.''

Graham's injury happened as he attempted to pull in a pass in the end zone during Seattle's victory over the Steelers. Seattle had struggled to find the best ways to utilize Graham even before the injury. Some games he was dominant over the middle. Some games he mostly disappeared.

Graham already had four catches in the game against the Steelers before going down. He finished the season with 48 receptions and two touchdowns.

''The pain was pretty terrible. That's for sure,'' Graham said. ''And when you look down at your knee and don't see your kneecap you know something is wrong.''

Now, the lingering question is whether he still has the speed and agility that made him such a difficult matchup prior to the injury. A number of players have been unable to return to form after a patellar tendon tear. New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who had the same injury, told Graham not to rush his return.

''I don't think about how other guys have been or what it's done to other guys,'' Graham said. ''I think I'm a little different. I'm still fast, which is real good.''

Graham now wants to start rebuilding his link with quarterback Russell Wilson. It's unlikely that Graham will play in the preseason and he jokingly said he's not allowed to say whether he'll be ready for the season opener against Miami on Sept. 11.

''It's time for me to start that connection with Russ. I think we both felt it,'' Graham said. ''I've been out here busting my butt every morning and every afternoon, so it's time.''

NOTES: Second-round pick DT Jarran Reed left the field Wednesday after appearing to have his left ankle stepped on during a drill. Reed limped off to the sideline under his own power but was taken to the locker room by cart. There was no update on his status. ... WR Doug Baldwin returned to limited work after missing the past week when his Achilles' tendon was stepped on.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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