Seahawks Graham makes little noise in Superdome return
Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (88) pulls in a pass in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. The Saints won 25-20. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) After turning down every interview request during the week, Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham figured to do his talking on the field in his return to the Superdome.
He didn't make much noise there, either. Graham caught three passes for 34 yards in the Seahawks' 25-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. He then ignored a series of questions while walking more than half of the length of the field – wearing headphones – on his way out of the Superdome.
''He wants to win and he didn't win,'' Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. ''That's his only thing, and we're all that way. We're all looking forward to watching the film to see where we can get better.''
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The Seahawks obtained Graham, a three-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2013 with the Saints, in a trade in March 2015. Aside from a 15-yard third-down reception that set up a field goal in the fourth quarter, he had little impact in his first game against the Saints.
His three receptions were his fewest since Week 2. His 34 yards were his lowest total since Week 1. Wilson tried to connect with him in the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter but threw high on a day when Seattle managed only one offensive touchdown.
Defending Graham ''was a big part, but he wasn't the whole game plan,'' Saints linebacker Craig Robertson said. ''We did a good job of staying consistent with what we do as a defense instead of just focusing on one player.''
Graham, who caught 16 touchdowns with the Saints in 2013, has one touchdown grab this year and three in his 19 games since joining Seattle. He missed the final five regular- season games and the playoffs last season with a torn patella tendon.
''There are times when you have a linebacker on him and times you have a safety on him,'' Saints coach Sean Payton said. ''But listen, I'll be honest; it was good to see him running around healthy.''
The Seahawks gave up All-Pro center Max Unger (2012) plus a first-round draft pick to obtain Graham. Due in part to an inconsistent, injury-affected offensive line, Seattle ranked 22nd in total offense before struggling again on Sunday.
They certainly weren't blaming Graham.
''He's just focused on doing his job at the highest level,'' Wilson said. ''He's a great teammate. Obviously he had a great career here (New Orleans), but he's looking forward to building on what he's been doing. I love the guy to death. He's arguably the best tight end in the National Football League.''
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