Former Saints tight end Jimmy Graham isn’t calling it a career just yet

It seemed like Jimmy Graham was hanging up his cleats after last season, but the former New Orleans Saints tight end isn’t retiring just yet.
New York Giants v New Orleans Saints
New York Giants v New Orleans Saints / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

Based on how Jimmy Graham entered the offseason, it seemed like his NFL career had come to an end. Graham became a free agent after spending last season with the New Orleans Saints, and he penned a heartfelt appreciation letter to the city of New Orleans, the organization, and everyone else that made his time with the Saints special.

Additionally, Graham announced his plan to row across the Arctic Ocean in 2025, a challenge that’s going to take a ton of preparation, especially since Graham has never rowed before. With all of that in mind, it seemed like Graham was turning the page on football, even though he didn’t officially announce retirement.

There’s a reason he didn’t, and it’s that he’s not retired. Graham recently made that clear in a conversation with ESPN. He explained that whenever he is officially retiring, it’ll be a decision that he makes with the Saints.

"I'm gonna reach out to the Saints and figure out what's best, and then make the decision on when it's best for me to retire… I just want to make sure when I retire, it's as a Saint, and it's when they want me to. I'll just make sure I give them a call and see exactly when they want me to retire and then I'll end up doing it."

Jimmy Graham (ESPN)

Jimmy Graham says he will retire when the Saints want him to

This explanation makes it seem like Graham is remaining on call just in case New Orleans needs him. Even with all that he has going on outside of football, Graham said he thinks it’s possible to also add football to the balance. Saints’ tight end coach Clancy Barone also said that he believes Graham would be ready if an opportunity did present itself.

Last season, after a year off, Graham played in 13 games, catching six passes on seven targets for 39 yards and four touchdowns. It’s certainly not the production that made him a five-time Pro Bowler, but he proved to still be a red-zone threat. Whether he reprises that role or not remains to be seen. However, it’s clear that Jimmy Graham will retire with the Saints.