Jimmy Graham had a couple of "that's it," moments within a few months of each other.
One had a little more "that's it" to it than the other one
On the morning of March 4, the Bears tight end was driving on the turnpike to the airport in Florida and planned to do maintenance so he could fly on a helicopter to a foundation event. As he drove over a hill he saw a police officer going down an off-ramp with his lights on so he moved over a few lanes and as he saw this and the early morning sun he didn't get a look at a disabled vehicle in the center lane.
It didn't help that he was going 90 mph.
"Probably about 15 yards away, so I swerve to the left and barely miss him but I was headed toward a bridge," Graham said.
At the last second he made a decision to turn to the right and flip his vehicle.
"And I ended up rolling, the cop said, about four times and skidded on the roof for about 100 yards," Graham said. "The cop was there immediately, and I'm just kind of, you know, sparks and glass going everywhere, and I'm just sitting there in the seatbelt. I get out of the seatbelt and now I'm on the roof and I'm just kinda hollering for my dog (a Vizsla named Ginger) and I don't hear her, so then I get out and she's in the back and we just walked away."
Graham admitted it crossed his mind quickly that he could be in real trouble.
"It really felt like a game," he said. "Everything was really slow. I can remember making every decision. I can actually remember my phone floating up in the air. I could see the time. I just knew it wasn't my time. There's no way I'm gonna die with something stupid. Literally, I was like, hey, I'm good, and after they flipped the car back over, I towed it to the airport and obviously extremely lucky and it was really awesome by the response team of Dade County and all the guys on the highway patrol there are special, and I appreciate all the help, obviously."
The other "that's it" moment?
The final catch he made in the playoff loss to New Orleans, his former team, in his former stadium, a ridiculous one-handed catch of Mitchell Trubisky's TD pass on the game's final play.
Graham admits he thought of calling it a career with that catch.
"Yeah. I certainly did for a second there," he said. "I've got a lot of unfinished business. It was very difficult for me to go back in the dome and especially to lose. I'm a pretty fiery person. I'm a pretty enthusiastic person. And I hate losing, simple as that. It was a lot of frustration there, because I haven't won a ring and that's all I think about.
"So just knowing it's another year. I wasn't sure what I was gonna do, but I talked to Ryan (Pace) and talked to Matt (Nagy), and I’m on board and ready to do whatever it takes to get back in that position and move forward and hopefully to make a run."
Nagy was glad Graham didn't decide that really was it for him after the catch.
"For him, heading into now whatever year it is for him (No. 12), he's been playing a long time," Nagy said. "He understands that but he's still extremely valuable to us in so many ways. So I have a good relationship with him.
"I talk to him a lot during the offseason and we have a lot of healthy conversations and it just got to a point where we're just super excited to get him back here and continue to know what his role's going to be in this offense. One of my favorite players I've ever coached, I’ve learned a lot from him and I just love the mentality and we're lucky to have him."