The 2020 season has been a grueling one for the Philadelphia Eagles, but the silver lining may well be coming from their silver fox. At age 32, Brandon Graham ties with Jason Kelce as the second-oldest player on the roster, but he’s easily been among the most impactful.
After a 2018 playoff heartbreak, Graham was seen shaking hands with reporters, hugging them, and thanking them. He didn’t really know if he’d played his last snap as an Eagle…but luckily for everyone, that wasn’t the case.
After signing a new 3-year deal, Graham burst back into life with an 8.5 sack season. Fast forward to 2020, and he’s already got 6 sacks to his name through 7 weeks of Football.
This hardly comes as a surprise, however. Graham heated up towards the end of 2018. In his last 23 games, he has 14.5 sacks, 27 QB hits and 24 TFL. The Michigan product is aging like a fine wine. The secret? His teammates and a lot of self-care.
“I think just really taking on my nutrition this year more serious than I ever have. Feeling good.” Graham said after the week 7 win over New York. “Body is feeling really good right now. I feel fast. Then with our rotation, that is helping a lot. I don’t feel like I am taking on a lot of beating from these games because you know, got chipped a lot of times today and that could wear on your body a little bit but it’s cool when you have a good rotation of guys that you can count on. Because in that fourth quarter when you need a play, I feel like you know I felt in the first quarter. So I felt hungry and ready to go make a play. And I’m thankful that they, in the backend, took away his reads and I was able to get there.”
With the clock winding down and one last hope remaining for the Giants, Graham forced a huge fumble, sealing the win for Philadelphia. When asked about that play in particular, Graham’s response really summed up everything you could ever need to know about him.
“Well you know what the first thing I talked about on the sideline with [Eagles T] Jordan Mailata. He had said something to me that sparked me. He said, ‘Act like Emerson is watching.’ My baby girl. She would be excited for me. ‘And give her something to be proud of.’ So it was just cool that I made that play but he said that to me before I went out there. And so I’m telling you it’s just something about the end of these games with the rotation that we have, you feel stronger, you just can’t wait because you know you are in a pass situation and all you have to do is make a couple moves, get to the quarterback, hoping that he holds the ball. And he held the ball right there, went straight for the ball. Thank you [former Eagles safety and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins] B-Dawk. Because B-Dawk definitely went for the ball. Thinking about you. And instead of going just for the sack, went for the ball and we changed the whole game and the end of the game with that.”
A family man who truly bleeds the colors of the City who drafted him all the way back in 2010 with the 13th overall pick, Graham leaned on his teammates and the thought of his daughter watching him play when giving everything he had on that final drive.
He’s certainly developed a knack for making those kind of plays over the years, with his iconic strip-sack of Tom Brady in Super Bowl 52 being a particular highlight.
Brandon Graham has already carved his reputation as a legendary Eagle, but this season may well be one of his biggest yet. Regardless of how this season pans out, fans can take solace in the fact that Brandon Graham has spent his entire career in Philadelphia and is only getting better.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire