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Daniel Graham at the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club

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  • Daniel Graham at the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club

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    Daniel Graham's stellar career as a tight end at the University of Colorado and later the NFL almost didn't happen."In my freshman year in high school I played football for the first time," Daniel told a full house at today's Denver Broncos Quarterback Club luncheon. "I hated it! I quit football after that year," Daniel said.

    Lucky for the University of Colorado and the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, and New Orleans Saints (all teams Daniel played for) the star tight end gave football another try in his sophomore year thanks to a new coach. Daniel went on to star in Denver's Thomas Jefferson high school. At the University of Colorado he built on his success. In 2001 he was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end in helping the Buffs to a 10-3 record, Big 12 Championship and appearance in the Fiesta Bowl. Drafted by New England, he later won two Super Bowls as a member of the Patriots.

    "The highlight of my career was beating #1 Nebraska 62-36. That win was even better than the Super Bowl victories. The Huskers have never been the same since," Daniel told us. He credits the CU tight ends coach at the time, Jon Embree, for his success. "Embree taught me how to block. I became the best blocker on every team I played on," Daniel said.

    After starting his NFL career with the Patriots, Graham played for the Broncos from 2007-2010, catching passes from Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton, and Tim Tebow. "Kyle Orton was a great game manager. Jay Cutler had the strongest arm of any quarterback I played with. Cutler's downfall was Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Instead of getting other players involved in the passing game Cutler would target Marshall all the time. Marshall was the most talented player I ever played with, but Cutler would have been more effective to spread the ball around to his other receivers."

    Graham told us he played some quarterback in high school, and with the New Orleans Saints he was the 3rd string "emergency quarterback". While with the Saints in one game the first two quarterbacks got hurt and Graham almost got in the game. "The scariest moment of my career," Daniel related. The second string quarterback eventually recovered and was able to finish the game, sparing Graham of his moment as an NFL quarterback. Still Graham joked, "I was a better quarterback than Tim Tebow."

    Why did Josh McDaniels fail in Denver? "He tried to make the Broncos the Denver Patriots. It didn't work," Daniel said. He described Patriots coach Bill Belichick as very tough. "We would win by 30 points, but the way Bill yelled at us on Monday morning it was like we lost by 20," he said. McDaniels tried bringing the same approach to the Broncos but the players weren't ready for it.

    Daniel's Dad, the late Tom Graham, was a linebacker for the Broncos in the early 70's. "I never saw film of my Dad playing until I signed with the Broncos," Daniel told us. He described his Dad as quite the player. "In his last game with the Oregon Ducks he had 40 tackles." Daniel grew up in Denver and described he and his brother as die hard Bronco fans in their youth.

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    After his talk and question and answer session with the fans of the QB Club, Daniel was gracious in signing autographs. He also let fans hold his two Patriot Super Bowl rings and he posed for many pictures. It was an enjoyable afternoon of hearing stories from Graham’s playing days and getting the chance to meet him in person!

    We have more Quarterback Club meetings planned this Fall, including a Brandon Lloyd luncheon September 14th and a Green Bay game watch party with Randy Gradishar on September 22nd. Visit our website for more information on how you can be part of these meetings.

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          Awesome! I love these threads!!