Brandon Graham left Lincoln Financial Field Sunday not only with a victory but with a new a record.
The defensive end has played 156 career games, the most by a defensive lineman in Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise history.
THE MAKING OF GRAHAM
Graham started his collegiate career with the Michigan Wolverines in 2006, switching from a linebacker to a defensive end prior to the start of his rookie season.
In 2007, he led the team in sacks with 8.5 and was second with three forced fumbles. Among the Big-Ten, he ranked seventh for both statistics.
NCAA 2008 EA Sports gave Graham a 99 rating, and on the field, he proved he was worthy of that. He finished with ten sacks and led the Big-Ten with 20 tackles for a loss. Nationally, he ranked second in tackles for a loss.
Graham was awarded 2008 Second-Team All-Big Ten and the Wolverines’ most valuable player.
For BG, it only got better. In 2009, he was named First-Team All-Big Ten, First-Team 2009 College Football All-America Team, and Second-Team All-American defensive line. Michigan selected Graham as their consecutive MVP, making him the university’s first defensive player ever to be a two-time winner.
A CAREER BUILT IN PHILLY
Graham took the ball and kept running. He enlisted into the NFL a year early. The Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He signed a five-year $16.9 million contract under Andy Reid, starting the regular season aside defensive end and lineman, Trent Cole.
Towards the end of the 2010 season, he suffered a torn ACL and was placed on the PUP list. In 2013, he returned to the linebacker position.
After a close call, Graham signed another four-year deal in 2015. Despite a possible change to the New York Giants, he remained with the Eagles for $26 million.
In 2016, he moved back to defensive end for the second time, finding his sweet spot. He finished the season with 59 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
Pro Football Focus rated him as the ninth-best player in the NFL.
Earning multiple bonuses in 2017 for his performance, he reached a career-high of 9.5 sacks. That year, the Eagles unforgettably played in Super Bowl LII, where Graham sacked Tom Brady, forcing a fumble to Derek Barnett in the final three minutes of the game.
Graham signed another three-year $40 million contract extension through the 2021 season.
ADDING ANOTHER TO THE RECORD BOOK
This Sunday, the Eagles hosted the New Orleans Saints — their first win after four straight losses. That game was Graham’s 156th career game.
The franchise record he passes was previously held by former teammate, Trent Cole. Cole played for The Birds for ten seasons, before finishing his career in 2016 with the Indianapolis Colts. He was a two-time Pro Bowler.
After 156 games, Brandon Graham now has 419 total tackles, 61.5 sacks, seven fumble recoveries, and 21 forced fumbles.
From now on, every week Graham steps onto the field, he will be lengthening his own record with the Eagles.
Shockingly Graham has never made a Pro Bowl, but we’ll see what else 2020 offers towards his accomplishments.
He continues to make history next Sunday as the Eagles travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals at 4:05 pm.