Seahawks Tight End Jimmy Graham Discusses ‘Dark Days’ Of Rehab, Learning To Walk Again After Knee Injury

Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham is apparently back in action!

The 29-year-old former Miami Hurricanes athlete returned to the Seahawks practice field Wednesday, according to the NFL website. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was apparently correct when he said Tuesday that Jimmy was “right at the edge of getting back” because Graham showed up to play.

With his return to the practice field, this officially means that Jimmy Graham is no longer an inactive player on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Graham suffered a torn patellar tendon injury in his right leg during Week 12 last year, which brought his season to a screeching halt. However, many fans and critics would likely agree that it’s good to see him literally back on his feet, running plays on the field with his teammates.

Jimmy Graham
During a recent press conference, Jimmy Graham discussed his eight-month journey through rehabilitation and the struggles he overcame during the extensive aftermath of his excruciating injury.

“There were some dark days… It’s been eight months. It’s been a constant eight months. I’ve never been through something that everyday you had to do something for. You know, every day, you wake up and until you go to bed, you’re doing some type of rehab… It’s been like that for me for eight months and it will continue to be like that for me for the next eight months.”

Graham further stated that it is something he is always going to have to pay attention to in the future, admitting that “it’s a part of life now.” However, the silver lining of the dark cloud of his rehab apparently brought him to a state of gratitude and humility.

“It makes me appreciate the game even more than I did. Just being out there today, I’m full of passion, full of fire… I get goosebumps just walking out of that door, so it was a great day.”

When asked about the extent of his injury, Jimmy Graham explained that he did not need to wear a cast on his leg. However, due to the nature of his injury, his leg was immobilized for nearly three months. Even when he was able to move his leg again, Jimmy states that his experience transitioned to “learning how to walk again” and “learning how to stand.”

Referring to the pain as being “pretty terrible,” Jimmy emphasized the surreal nature and severity of his injury.

“When you look down at your knee and you don’t see your kneecap, you know something’s wrong.”

According to Jimmy, some of the biggest battles that he had to fight throughout his rehabilitation period were mental battles. He states that after feeling good for weeks, he would just all of a sudden have a bad day when he was very sore, which led to a period of questioning himself about why it was so hard and whether or not he was doing the right thing.

Jimmy Graham

However, that apparently was a very humbling experience for Jimmy Graham as well, especially considering his life and career before the injury.

“I felt like a lot of things have come easy. I’ve always been athletic and fast. To have to learn how to walk again…is very humbling, that’s for sure… For me, I’ve learned patience. You know that you just have to stay mentally strong every day and set goals and never get frustrated with the process…embrace the process.”

Keep in mind that long before Jimmy Graham was a third-round draft pick, he was a high school basketball star. His talent earned him a scholarship to play for the Miami Hurricanes’ basketball team between 2005 and 2009.

Jimmy also took full advantage of the “student” aspect of being a student athlete, graduating in 2009 with a double major in business administration and marketing. He decided to stay on-board with the University of Miami to take graduate classes while joining the school’s football team.

The New Orleans Saints selected Jimmy Graham with the 95th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Nearly five years later, he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in March 2015. Graham tore his right patellar tendon on November 29, 2015, and was officially placed on the injury reserve list the next day.

The fact that he has been reactivated and taken off of the PUP list before the preseason may indicate that Jimmy Graham will be ready for action during the regular season. Coach Carroll is more than likely happy with Graham’s overall progress, but reportedly still plans to take a cautious approach with the tight end as they progressively get him back into the swing of the season.

According to Jimmy Graham, he said it is “very sweet” that he gets an opportunity to play football again, especially after being away from the sport for so long.

[Photo by Jeff Gross and Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]