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Pete Carroll on Jimmy Graham’s skills, reputation and personality

"His red-zone production is ridiculous," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said about tight end Jimmy Graham. (AP)
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Seahawks coach Pete Carroll joined “Bob, Groz and Tom” on 710 ESPN Seattle Thursday afternoon to discuss the acquisition of tight end Jimmy Graham. Here are some of the highlights.

Where Graham will help. Carroll cited the red zone and third down as two areas in which Graham will help Seattle’s offense the most. He called Graham’s red-zone production “ridiculous” and shared this stat: over the last three years, 35 of Graham’s 50 receptions in the red zone have produced touchdowns. “That’s legit,” Carroll said, “and you go to him because he has such a great presence.” Carroll also noted that about half of Graham’s targets on third down – presumably last season – produced first downs and said that production is similar to that of Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin. “That’s a big addition to complement,” Carroll said, “so we’re excited about all that.”

Graham’s reputation. “That’s not accurate,” Carroll said when asked about the perceptions that Graham lacks toughness. Carroll noted how Graham has played through injuries and all the hits he took over the last four years while being targeted well over 100 times per season. “They threw to him so much that guys were lining him up and linebackers and safeties were taking shots at him,” Carroll said. “When a guy gets hit like that, it’s hard to hold onto the football. They’re full-on shots right in your mug.” Carroll also brought up Graham’s basketball background and shared another stat (which he admittedly wasn’t 100 percent sure on): Graham ended his career at the University of Miami as the leading rebounder in the history of the ACC. “That’s a huge stat about toughness,” he said. “You can’t get rebounds year after year after year unless you compete and battle to get the ball. He shows that kind of desire and he shows that toughness in his play. You can see it when he’s carrying the football and he’s trying to run over guys, leap over guys and make things happen. So we have no problem with that. I think he’s going to fit in very well here. And I think our mentality and the grit and the toughness that we have here will only bring out even the best in him. So we’re excited about it.”

Graham’s personality. Asked about what Graham is like as a person, Carroll said he “blew our socks off yesterday being around us and spending the evening with the guys, going out to dinner and all that.” He called Graham bright, competitive, likeable and well-rounded and noted how he has overcome a very difficult upbringing, which you can read about here. Carroll said “a bunch” of Seahawks have reached out to Graham and have hit it off. He said Graham is eager to get to work with quarterback Russell Wilson. “He said, ‘Wherever Russell goes, I’m going,'” Carroll said, adding: “He was a blast. I think our fans are going to absolutely love this guy. He’s got a lot of juice to him, energetic, and he’s really a sharp guy. So we were thrilled, even more so once we got a chance to hang out with him all day yesterday.”

Carroll also shared his thoughts on losing center Max Unger as part of the deal and Seattle’s options at replacing two starting offensive linemen. You can listen to the interview here.