Jimmy Graham has let go of the bitterness from his childhood

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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.”

15 responses to “Jimmy Graham has let go of the bitterness from his childhood

  1. “I’ve forgiven the people who need to be forgiven for the things that happened to me as a child,”


    The unexpected magic of forgiveness is that those who have been wronged are set free once they forgive.

  2. His story really is one of inspiration and also, sad commentary on the often declining parental impact in large segments of our society.

    Hats off to Graham for perservering and for being an absolute beast on the field!

  3. What a great story this kid is. I saw a piece on him and his adopted mother and it ran the gamut from heartbreak (him calling the biological mother to beg her to take him back ad her refusing) to heartening (where he is today). I really admire that lady who helped give him a chance and I admire him as well for not giving in to a lifestyle that he well could have.

  4. He was placed in a group home at age 11, and physically beaten by the older kids.

    At 6’7″, 265 now, I’ll bet those kids that tormented him, didn’t get to do it for long.

  5. Good for him – that is really a great story – and god bless his adoptive mother – you see all of the negative crap about todays players – but then you see an awesome story like this – not a saints fan – but will always wish nothing but the best for jimmy graham.

  6. This is what it means to be a man, not the immature BS you get from all the “hey-look-at-me” jerks running around in the NFL today. No wonder Brees and Payton love this guy. Who wouldn’t?

  7. This illustrates what was so offensive about the Tim Tebow craze. The NFL is full of players like Jimmy Graham who come from very tough backgrounds and through tremendous dedication and sacrifice they succeed against all odds. They get recognized for their athletic skills but their amazingly inspiring stories go largely untold. Then along comes Timmy Tebow, a middle class kid who cannot begin a conversation without thanking his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the world goes ga ga over what a wonderful inspiration he is for mankind. I am so much more inspired by the Jimmy Graham story or the Patrick Willis story, or the Jason Pierre Paul story, than I am the Tim Tebow story.

  8. So refreshing to see such a positive story and how his life went from 0 to 100 so fast. He not only inspires others but sheds a new light on the otherwise negative stories of the NFL players involved with being drunk, drugs, violent affairs etc. This guy is a shining diamond for himself and the NFL and as an example to other young kids out there that feel they have no future in life.
    Keep your head up high and BG – your the man!

  9. I also saw this story, what a great kid and what a person his adoptive mom is. It was noted that his real mom has now contacted him since he is famous and rich. Hope he has forgiven her but tells her it’s too late, way too late.

  10. Seems like a great guy. Really emphasizes the difference between getting help and getting handouts in this world and what it does for your character and well-being.

  11. It is always great to hear the heart of professional players. we often forget that they are real people.



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