Being Released by Packers ‘Was Tough Pill to Swallow’ for Graham
New Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham insists he can be the player he used to be and not the one he was for two seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
“My knee right now is the best it's felt in four or five years,” Graham said in a conference call with Bears reporters on Thursday. “This is the best that I've ran. This is the fastest I've been in the last four or five years.”
Graham caught 38 receptions for 447 yards last season. The 42-yard catch he had against San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game is why the Packers signed him in 2018. Those big plays – the ones he made so frequently while a star in New Orleans – were far too infrequent, though. The Packers released him, escaping the final year of a three-year contract, and he landed quickly in Chicago.
“Obviously it was a tough pill to swallow,” Graham said. “It was the first time I lost my job. And I work extremely hard, I've sacrificed everything for this game, I've given it everything I have and obviously to go through that it was difficult.
“Now I have the opportunity to win a bunch of games this year and I'm very grateful for that. I’m obviously grateful for the opportunity and the friendships I did make just up north there (in Green Bay). But for me, it’s lit a fire. I know what player I am and I know what I can do. I think I was able to show a little bit of that in the playoffs with some of the opportunities I was given.”