When we last saw Jimmy Graham, he was running into the tunnel at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after scoring the Bears’ only touchdown in their playoff loss against the Saints.
Who knew that might’ve been Graham’s last play in the NFL had things gone differently this offseason:
#Bears TE Jimmy Graham thought about retiring during the off-season but said he wanted to try to win his first ring. The main concern was his health, which is good.
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) June 15, 2021
While talking to reporters ahead of this wave of OTAs at Halas Hall, Graham said he considered retiring in the offseason. Graham cited health concerns as being in play as to why he was thinking about retirement. But he seems to believe he is healthy enough to gut out his 12th year in the NFL. And for one last shot at a ring, Graham appears ready to give it a go.
Graham’s future with the Bears has felt up-in-the-air for most of the offseason. The team could have saved $7 million in cap space by parting ways with him, but didn’t. Considering his rumored recruitment efforts for Russell Wilson and his relationship with rising second-year tight end Cole Kmet, it makes sense as to why Graham continues to stick around.
Hopefully, the Bears can make the most of Graham’s return. The most-maligned signing of last offseason actually paid off big for the Bears. Graham was a solid red zone target for both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. All things considered, Graham perfectly played the role he needed to be in last year. At least, the role we thought he was a perfect fit for this time last year. I would like to see Kmet take the bull by the horns and make that his role starting this year. But then again, I wouldn’t mind having a jumbo red-zone package featuring Graham, Kmet, and Allen Robinson for Justin Fields (or even Andy Dalton!) to target this season.
But seriously, I don’t think there would’ve been a better – non-championship winning – way to end a playing career than this: