Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham: ‘I’m only going to get better and better’ as knee regains strength
Former All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham had arguably his best game as a Seahawk during Sunday’s win over the 49ers, but he told 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Monday that he is still not 100 percent back from the serious knee injury he sustained last season.
“For me, no,” Graham said. “For me, my knee is getting stronger and stronger. Every morning I’m still up and I’m still in here working as hard as I can to build the strength up in it, to get even more explosion back and to get more of my power back, which still isn’t there. Right now it’s good enough to be out there and it’s good enough to be out there for my team, so I’m excited because this is just the beginning and I’m only going to get better and better.”
Graham, who had surgery after rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee in November, scored his first touchdown of the season on Sunday and showed explosion during his six-catch, 100-yard performance. That included a 40-yard reception where he jumped and took the ball from 49ers safety Eric Reid.
Despite not being at full strength, Graham said he plans to play with the same intensity he’s always had.
“I’m not gonna be out there halfway tippy-toeing. I’m not gonna kind of stick my toe in the water and see if it’s cold. I’m gonna play and I’m not even gonna think about it,” he said. “I feel like I’m a warrior and, for me, it didn’t matter. It truly doesn’t. I’m just out there trying to be me again. For me, it’s playing with that reckless abandonment of my body and just not caring, because that’s really how I’ve been my whole career. If the ball is in the air, I don’t care how many people are up there. I’m gonna jump, I’m gonna run through people, I’m gonna do whatever I can to get to it.”
Graham told Clayton that it was a “long road” in his recovery and that there “have been some dark days.” He viewed his touchdown catch as a testament to his hard work.
“I don’t think anybody really expected me to be back so early, so it’s definitely hard work paid off,” he said.
Graham said doctors never put an exact timetable on his recovery from the injury injury.
“They initially said that I don’t do anything half way, and I certainly didn’t do that nine months ago,” he said. “They said between nine months and 12 months is when you should be back, but it’s different being able to run straight ahead or just being back to normal compared to being back to take hits and be able to jump over people. That’s really the biggest thing, is it’s really on your body and how hard you’re willing to work and how much pain you’re willing to push through.”
Graham said his weekly routine during rehab included being at the facility at 5:30 a.m. and warming up his knee, stripping out the scar tissue and fighting through the pain as he re-learned to walk. He said he only re-started jogging again in June.
“Trying to really wake muscles up that really had disappeared. It’s something that when you have such a severe knee injury like this, the biggest problem is that you have to learn to walk again,” he said. “So kind of going through that was very eye-opening. Learning how to walk and then learning how to drive again.
“I started jogging in June, so that’s how severe this was and to be on the other side of it, to look back and see if I can get through that, I can get through anything. To have to just kind of put my head down and endure that pain and endure a lot of the naysayers saying that it’s impossible, especially when you weigh 270 trying to come back and trying to run people over, that it was impossible. I just kept believing.”