Running back is not a position known for its selfless virtue. Tampa Bay's Earnest Graham was the exception to the rule.
Graham joined the Bucs as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida in 2004. He saw limited action for his first three seasons, acting typically as the third back in the rotation.
In 2007, Graham was forced into starting action when Cadillac Williams went on injured reserve with a torn patellar tendon and Michael Pittman broke his leg. He went on to record three 100-yard games, score 10 touchdowns and collect 1222 yards from scrimmage in 10 starts.
His strong finish earned Graham the starting nod in 2008. Over his 10 starts, Graham averaged 4.3 yards per carry but scored just four touchdowns. He eventually went on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
2009 is when things got interesting. Jon Gruden was gone. The roster was remade by general manager Mark Dominik, and he set the stage for a three-way rush attack with Williams, Graham and Derrick Ward.
The plan did not go well. Tampa Bay could not buy a win. Ward was completely ineffective, but Williams rose to the challenge. Graham, in an incredibly selfless act, changed positions to fullback to become Williams' lead blocker. He all but gave up the chance to be a starting running back to help his teammate and his team.
Graham's NFL career ended in 2011, serving as lead blocker all they way to the end. He pivoted to coaching soon thereafter and is now the head coach at Evangelical Christian School in Fort Myers, FL.