|No. 82, 86, 89|
|Born:||November 16, 1978|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||257 lb (117 kg)|
|High school:||Denver (CO) Jefferson|
|NFL Draft:||2002 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Daniel Lawrence Graham (born November 16, 1978) is a former American football tight end in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Colorado, and was recognized as a consensus All-American. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft, and also played professionally for the Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints.
Graham was born in Torrance, California. Growing up in Denver, Colorado, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School. Graham won the Randy Brewer award, which was given to the school's most inspirational player. During his time there, he played the positions of tight end, outside linebacker, long snapper, and placekicker. As a senior, he caught 33 passes for 741 yards (22.45 yards per reception) and six touchdowns, and recorded twelve quarterback sacks and 29 total tackles in just seven games. He also lettered three times in basketball.
At Thomas Jefferson High school and later at the University of Colorado, Graham wore jersey No. 89, the number that former New York Giants tight end Mark Bavaro wore during his pro career. As a child Graham idolized Bavaro, who has since followed Graham's career and has come to befriend him in his adult life.
While attending the University of Colorado, Graham played for the Colorado Buffaloes football team from 1998 to 2001. Nicknamed Grahambo, he was a prolific receiver for the Buffaloes, where he also started two games playing fullback during his freshman season before switching to tight end. After his senior season in 2001, he won the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end, was a first-team All-Big 12 selection, and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. He finished his college career with 106 receptions for 1,543 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft, the Patriots selected Graham with the 21st overall choice. Early in his career he was known for dropping too many passes and suffering apparent lapses of concentration. He improved greatly in this aspect of his playing and also made himself known as an excellent blocking tight end. In his rookie season, Graham recorded 15 receptions for 150 yards, and one touchdown. He added four tackles on special teams. In 2003, he started nine games and recorded 38 catches for 409 yards and four touchdowns. By 2004, Graham was fully integrated into the Patriots' system. He had 30 receptions for 364 yards and seven touchdowns. The Patriots won the Super Bowl at the end of each of these seasons. Graham was named a Patriots team captain on December 6, 2006.
Graham was signed by the Denver Broncos on March 6, 2007. The Broncos awarded Graham a five-year, $30 million contract. The deal included $15 million in guaranteed money that was distributed as a $10 million signing bonus along with a first-year roster bonus of $5 million.
He was voted offensive captain along with quarterback Jay Cutler for the 2008 season.
Daniel Graham was featured on the cover of the October 12, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. The cover photo shows Graham cradling the football in his left arm and hurdling an unnamed Dallas Cowboys player during the October 4, 2009 contest where the Broncos defeated the Cowboys by the score of 17-10.
On March 2, 2011, the Broncos released Graham.
On July 31, 2011, Graham signed a three-year deal with the Tennessee Titans. Graham scored his only touchdown with the Titans and his final career touchdown on September 25, 2011 with a 4-yard touchdown reception from Matt Hasselbeck in the fourth quarter of a 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos. He was released on June 12, 2012 with two years remaining on an $8.25 million contract. Graham was losing reps to Jared Cook, Craig Stevens and rookie Taylor Thompson.
On August 11, 2012, Graham signed with the New Orleans Saints. On November 2, 2012, Graham was released by the New Orleans Saints. He retired in August 2013.
His father, Tom Graham, starred at the University of Oregon from 1969-1971 where he became the all-time leading tackler in Duck football history and a 2001 inductee into the University of Oregon Hall of Fame. Tom played professionally for the Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego Chargers, and the Buffalo Bills during the course of an eight-year career as a linebacker.
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