Jimmy Graham has been one of the best tight ends of his generation during his 10-year career, but as he readies himself for his first year with the Chicago Bears, he feels he has plenty more left in the tank.
“I have a lot to prove,” Graham said on Thursday from Halas Hall. “I mean, I have a big chip on my shoulder to do as best as I can with this new opportunity.”
The entire tight end group has been making their mark through the early part of camp, but it’s been the veteran Graham that has been leading the way.
“I’m extremely blessed to be here with such a young group of guys that are so hungry,” Graham told the media during his Zoom call. “I know you guys aren’t in this locker room, but you can feel the buzz. You can feel the buzz in this building. There’s no excuses. No one is looking around and saying we got to do this, we got to do that. This organization has done a great job to keep us all healthy, to hold us all accountable. And to make sure that on these off days that we’re accountable, so that we come in here and work.”
Graham’s teammates and coaches have noticed the passion and experience that the five-time Pro Bowler brings to the practice field each day. He’s not only been a stellar performer during camp so far, but he’s been vocal and feisty as well.
“We need that energy. That guy that has that fire, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” head coach Matt Nagy said. “Jimmy’s an experienced vet. He’s been through a lot. I think the guys on our team, not just our offense, are respecting that and liking that.”
“The dude can catch the ball and run routes and he’s still got a lot of juice in him,” quarterback Nick Foles said about his savvy tight end. “And then the knowledge he brings to the game. He’s played the game a long time. The wisdom he’s gained from different offenses is intriguing, so having those conversations has been great.”
This will be Graham’s fourth offense in as many years, and this year has been extra challenging with the pandemic limiting practice reps, but Graham has no concerns about getting up to speed himself or in helping his teammates when needed.
“I’m gonna bring my mindset and my work ethic. I’m gonna make sure that our room holds ourselves accountable.” Graham said about his fellow tight ends. “We’re going to give everything we have on each and every play. I can guarantee that. I can guarantee no loafs, and I can guarantee that we’re going to know exactly what we need to do and how we need to do it.”
You can check out Graham’s full Zoom press conference in the embed below.