Even though his stats were still quite good, there was a tangible sense that tight end Jimmy Graham wasn’t quite himself in Seattle last year.
Partially, that’s because he wasn’t completely healthy.
Via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said they had to be careful with Graham coming off his torn patellar tendon in 2015.
“We had to manage him the whole year,” Carroll said. “He just kept hanging in there. He played in every game and didn’t miss any time, but he wasn’t at his best. You can see him now. But that’s what great athletes, great performers and great competitors do. They find a way. Jimmy did that most admirably, and I know how grateful he feels now that he made it through that and we handled it the way we did.
“He survived it, and now he is really moving up.”
He did more than survive. He finished the year with 923 receiving yards, third-most among tight ends. He also caught six touchdowns, and along with his 65 receptions, he set franchise records for tight ends in all three categories.
But because the Seahawks offense doesn’t feature him the same way the Saints did, the sense of unfulfilled expectations remains, and sets the stage for Graham to put up even bigger numbers in a contract years.