|09-16-2007, 09:02 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Broncos' Graham right at home
Tight end doesn't feel added pressure in return to state where he played high school, college ball
By FRANK SCHWAB, THE GAZETTE
ENGLEWOOD - Daniel Graham doesn’t seem to be bothered by the extra attention or pressure from playing close to home.
But then, the Denver Broncos’ tight end doesn’t seem bothered by anything. Graham, who played at Denver’s Thomas Jefferson High School and the University of Colorado before five years with the New England Patriots, rarely raises his voice above audible and answers most questions with a small smile.
Tom Graham makes sure his son’s polite manner doesn’t lead to extra distractions. Graham, who played linebacker for the Broncos from 1972-74, let family and friends know not to bother him too much — he’s working.
“We’ve been cognizant of that and realize he’s on the job,” Tom Graham said. “I think folks have been handling that well.”
Graham’s mother, Marilyn, handles all ticket requests, which is probably the most cumbersome task. They had to get at least 20 tickets, by Tom Graham’s account, for today’s game against Oakland, Daniel’s first home game as a Bronco.
Graham has already experienced a lot in the NFL, having played in two Super Bowls for New England. Graham’s twin Joshua said he thought Daniel has matured and was ready to handle distractions.
“If he would have gotten drafted here, I think it would have been a totally different story,” Joshua Graham said. “Then he would have felt a lot of pressure being home. I think it worked out for the better with him going to New England for the first five and then coming here.”
Graham acknowledged there are some challenges being close to home, such as demands on his time and ticket requests, but he hasn’t let that bother him.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Graham said. “I’m excited to be here, excited to be back home.
“I know how to shake stuff off. I’ve always been like this.”
Graham said being home has relaxed him more, because he can spend more time with his daughter Jaida. She just turned 2, and Graham said he wanted to be with her as much as possible.
“That was the No. 1 factor in me coming back here,” Graham said. “I didn’t want to be away from her.”
“There haven’t been too many times seeing him that she’s not there as well,” Tom Graham said. “They’re Frick and Frack.”
Life off the field is good, and Graham is playing well. He caught three passes against Buffalo, which might not sound like much, but he was thrilled considering he had 16 catches in 2005 and 21 last year. He pointed out he’s on pace for a career year. His career best is 38 catches.
He was asked if he had any expectations for his first season in Denver.
“It sounds like you’re asking me if I got any goals set or something,” Graham said.
“I do,” Graham said. “I keep them personal, though.”
Without giving away any individual goals, Graham said he wanted to repeat the team success he had with the Patriots.
“There’s always one goal,” Graham said. “That’s the biggest goal, the only goal, to get that Super Bowl.”