Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is in Indianapolis this week talking less about football than about his childhood, when he suffered from abuse and spent time in the foster system. Graham, whose life story will be featured as part of a documentary on the USA Network on February 10, talked this afternoon about the ways he has moved on from that.
“I’ve forgiven the people who need to be forgiven for the things that happened to me as a child,” Graham said. “I would never change those things. The things I went through as a child have molded me into the man I am today. I think I’m blessed to have gone through those things.”
Graham talked about how his life turned around when he was welcomed into the home of Becky Vinson, now his adoptive mother, who encouraged him to focus on both academics and athletics. He ended up earning a basketball scholarship to Miami and then switching to football and getting drafted by the Saints.
“I always thought I was just a dumb kid,” Graham said. “And finally someone stepped into my life and told me all the things I could do, and how smart I was, and all of a sudden I’m going to college.”
Graham said he’s a better man today because of what he went through as a child.
“That’s a part of me and it’s always going to be a part of me,” Graham said. “I was blessed to have gone through those things.”