LAKE FOREST – The week of mandatory mini-camp is always one in which teammates can catch up with each other if they haven’t been at the previous voluntary OTA workouts over the last month.
It’s also a chance to hear from some of these veteran players for the first time, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic kept a few more away from the facility that usual the last month.
That included tight end Jimmy Graham, who is returning for his 12th NFL season and his second with the Bears. Most fans remember him for his walk-off touchdown to end the Wild Card loss to the Saints in January when he snagged a score then went straight up the tunnel at the Superdome.
Some thought that would be the end of the five-time Pro Bowler’s career, but he said hes’ got “unfinished business” with the Bears and in the NFL. That includes winning a Super Bowl title, which has eluded him during stops in New Orleans, Seattle, Green Bay, and the 2020 season in Chicago.
Yet the most compelling part of his offseason was an incident that occured in March that put Graham’s life in danger.
While driving in Miami, Graham was involved in a rollover accident on his way to the airport to do maintenance on a helicopter in his foundation. He posted photos of the accident on Twitter, which he described this week.
“I was on the turnpike and I saw the cop kinda going down this off ramp with his lights off; he was reversing. So I got over two lanes. You know, the sun’s kinda coming up. As I go up over that hill I’m looking at the cop and when I look up, there’s a disable vehicle on the center lane, and I’m going about 90,” said Graham of the accident. “So probably about 15 yards away, so I swerved to the left, barely miss them, but I was headed for a bridge.
“So I had to make kind of a last minute decision and decided to just turn right and flip it to avoid jumping that thing.”
Graham said officers said that he flipped four times and skidded on the pavement for 100 yards, yet both he and his dog walked away without injury.
“It really felt like a game,” said Graham of the moments of the accident. “Everything was really slow. I can remember making every decision. I can actually remember my phone floating up in the air. I can see the time.”
A heart meter backed up his calm, as Graham said his pulse never got above 87 during the entire incident. He would tow the car to the airport and continued on with his maintence activities for the day, grateful things weren’t worse in those few seconds on the highway.
“I’m just extremely lucky, I’m just extremely blessed to be able to fly the same day and do a workout,” said Graham. “I can’t really even describe it.”
Even though he was able to in stunning detail as he made his return to Halas Hall this week.