Jimmy Graham, the $98 Tight End

The Giants couldn’t handle Jimmy Graham on Monday night.

Big and athletic tight ends like the Saints’ Graham and the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski are dictating to defenses this season, occasionally dunking on them.

Graham was a basketball player at the University of Miami, and to use basketball terminology, Drew Brees could just just throw it inside to the big man. Graham caught five passes for 84 yards, two for touchdowns. He leads the league in both catches (67) and receiving yards (957).

Gronkowski is second with 60 catches. The Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez — “the paragon of the contemporary tight end,” as Mike Tierney described him in The Times on Sunday — is still going strong and is third with 59. (Gonzalez played basketball at Cal.)

The Saints-Giants game got so out of hand that a little channel surfing could be excused, and you might have stumbled upon this clip (at top) on another ESPN channel. Graham has a story to tell. He was set adrift by his parents, abandoned over $98 per month in child support. The accusations at Penn State and Syracuse tell one side of what can happen to vulnerable children. Graham gives the other: what is possible when someone is willing to offer a hand, in this case the woman whom Graham now considers his mother. For more, James Varney of The Times-Picayune chronicled Graham’s upbringing and Miami days last year.

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