Philadelphia Eagles News

DE Brandon Graham

On how his life has changed in the last 16 hours: "It's changed dramatically because now I went from a Michigan Wolverine to a Philadelphia Eagle. You know, it's a great feeling."

On how it feels being the 13th overall pick: "I didn't see it coming, but I knew that I was going to work as hard as I could to get in a great spot wherever they thought I fit and I'm glad Philadelphia thought I fit at number 13."

On where his motivation to work comes from: "It just comes from fighting for a cause bigger than me. I know when we go out there on the field, you have to be relentless because you're working for a cause when you're trying to win a championship. You have a lot of goals and you're trying to accomplish them, so that's why I go out there relentless."

On his last year at Michigan: "It was a tough year because you're the leader of the team and most of the things that happen during the year reflect on the leaders of the team. I thought we did a pretty good job, it's just somebody's got to win and somebody's got to lose. We worked hard, we never quit on each other, so that's all you ask for, is everybody getting on the same page."

On how Michigan prepared him for the NFL: "Well it helped me a whole lot because, first I had three different coordinators so I got to experience a lot of different things. I knew it was a possibility that I could play linebacker or defensive end, so I worked on dropping back into coverage in practice and stuff like that, just stuff that would help me in the future. I had great coaches."

On moving from linebacker to defensive end: "I came in about 300 pounds, but I ended up playing my freshman year at like 290, so they moved me to defensive end and I've been there ever since."

On how he got that heavy: "Well I played in the U.S. Army All-American game in Texas, it was in San Antonio. Since I was the first one from Michigan they had a rule you couldn't play in any outside or out-of-state all-star games if you were from the state of Michigan. So they suspended me from all spring sports, so I just took that break and worked on my senior year and tried to get ready for Michigan. I ended up gaining a lot of weight."

On his ideal weight: "265 to 268."

On what his day has been like today: "Well, it's been fun, a lot of texts. My phone's probably dead right now from all the phone calls, but I'm just excited. I've been excited all morning; called my mom more than 10 times already just letting her know every experience from the first time I got off the plane to right now, trying to text her letting her know what's going on. I wish she could have been out here with me."

On his most enjoyable thing so far: "Meeting Head Coach Andy Reid again and meeting everybody in the building because everybody seems like they're real passionate about being a Philadelphia Eagle, just like I am and I'm ready to go."

On the pressure with the Eagles moving up and selecting him 13th overall: "It shows me that they have a lot of things that they see in me that I can bring to the Philadelphia Eagles. I want to show them that me, I know how to play the game of football and I'm going to go out there and be a coachable kid and try to learn everything the coaches try to do to be a part of the team."

On his love for playing football: "I have been playing ever since I was seven. I quit my first year because I got hit real hard. My dad always talked to me about quitting and I came back the next year and told him I was going to learn to love this game. Ever since then I've been loving the game and ever since I've never turned my back on it again."

On why he likes to play defense: "Yes, I like to hit people. Sometimes you might be having a bad day, but when you're in practice and you hit somebody it's like a stress relief."

On how he lost weight, from 300 to 268: "I just went in, it was hard, I had to go in and do extra work. But after a while, you feel good after you start losing, start eating better than you're used to, stop eating late, and stuff like that. That was the biggest problem. I just used to eat real late and eat a lot late, so that was a big step."

On the things he used to eat: "I used to eat out a lot. Yeah, I used to eat like grilled chicken pitas from Coney Island and stuff like that; chilly dogs, chilly cheese, chilly everything. But, ever since I started seeing the importance of weight and started knowing the importance of how you have to treat your body, I started doing that a little bit better and it helped me out a whole lot."

On his playing weight during college: "Well, I played at like 290. I was playing around the 290-280 range, so my coach told me 'I don't like you at like 280, so try to get down a little bit more. I think you'd be better because I think you still have a lot of fat on you that you're not supposed to have on you' and I ended up coming down to 260."

On noticing the difference of his play after losing the weight: "Yes, sir. I was able to move laterally and I was a little faster than I'm used to. I know at linebacker I'm used to going back and forth, sideline to sideline, and I couldn't do that at 280 because my back would hurt a little bit. I was having lower back problems. I knew I was overweight a little bit, so I had to work a little harder to get it off."

On whether a light went on at some point where he realized that he had to slim down: "Yes. My sophomore year, my first start against Notre Dame, I had three and a half sacks that game. That really let me know that if I got lighter, I would really be able to do damage and that's when I started to be 270 and then jumped down to 260. I've been here ever since."

On whether he had an idea of where he might be drafted prior to last night: "No, sir. I didn't know where I was going. Everybody was saying pretty much the same thing and I just knew that I was just going to let them know the type of person I am and what I would bring to their team if they picked me and just let them go from there."

On whether he lost the weight before or during his sophomore year: "It was during my sophomore year because by my junior year, I was like 265. I've been here ever since."

On whether he patterns his game after anyone: "Well, growing up I always watched (Ravens LB) Ray Lewis playing linebacker. I always just wanted to be that one that's always going to be around the ball. Always the big hit guy. Somebody who you can always expect that he's going to bring the 'boom' to somebody and stuff like that. I try to be that leader out there and let everybody know that I'm fighting for you and I want you to fight for me."

On the weight he gained during the spring semester after high school: "About 40 pounds."

On whether he went from about 260 to 300 pounds: "About 300."

On where his smile comes from: "Hey, that's my personality. I just like to smile. That doesn't mean that I'm not going to get the job done. I'm going to go out there and give it my all. I'll hit somebody and smile right over them and let them know I'm coming back the next play."

On how he ended up going to Crockett High and whether one has to apply to get in: "Yes, sir. One of the coaches, (high school) coach McGee the head coach, he saw me at my little league and he asked me how I would like to be a Crockett Rocket. That was the first time that somebody really talked high school with me and that's where I ended up going. That was the best move that I ever made."

On whether it was an academic-oriented school: "Yes. I had a 3.5 coming out of there and I was happy about that being able to keep my grades up. That was never really a problem at all."

On graduating with a degree from the University of Michigan: "Yes, that's May 1st. I still have 11 hours left, but this term I would have been able to take all of my classes. Ever since the draft stuff, I just took it off and said I'd go back next winter."

On whether he will attend mini-camp next week: "Yes. I'm going to be here. I was talking to coach Reid about it and I'm going to be here on Thursday probably leave on Friday after the first two practices and get ready for my graduation."

On his thoughts and impressions about the Eagles: "Since I was with Joel Segal, I always wanted to meet (Eagles QB) Michael Vick and it was kind of cool and I always wanted to meet (Redskins QB Donovan) McNabb, too, but it didn't work out like that. Now I have to go against him and bring him down. At the same time, I was just happy because we have (Eagles WR) Jason Avant here and (Eagles DB) Marlin Jackson. Those guys I didn't really get to play with. I didn't play with at all; they left a year before me. Now I get to meet those guys and let them know my experience from Michigan and try to figure out how their experiences where back at Michigan so we can interact with each other and become stronger teammates."

On whether he has heard from either Avant or Jackson: "No, sir."

On the fans of Philadelphia: "I've heard a lot. I've heard you are very passionate about football even though the Phillies won the world championship and everything. Everybody says it's all about the football team here. Just go out there and give it your all. That's all I'm going to do is give it my all and hopefully I'll have a great year."

On whether he remembers his meeting with the Eagles at the combine: "Yes. I just really had to go on the board and talk football because I didn't really have too many other issues. They just knew that I picked up on a lot of things real quick and just my personality alone and just where I'm from and stuff like that. It was real quick, 15 minutes; I got to meet everybody."

On whether he remembers anyone from that meeting: "Nothing really anything specific, except that I met coach Reid. I called my mom and my dad and let them know that I met him and stuff like that. You don't really know because everybody is saying pretty much the same thing. Now I'm learning all the names in the building and that's the biggest part now because I met a lot of people and I remember faces. Now I'm trying to put the names all together."

On the importance of his parents: "They were very important. I wouldn't be playing this game of football if it wasn't for my dad bringing me back out there. My mom was the type – 'I don't want my son hurt. I don't want him out there. He can do something else, like chess or something like that.' Nothing physical. My dad didn't want me to quit. He just wanted me to try one more year and I loved it after that year and I continued to do it. So, they had a lot of influence in my life. They took me through a lot of different scenarios on what I could go through growing up even though I'm going to go through it myself. I don't know what I'm going to do in a situation, but they always gave me the heads up on a lot of things. I've seen it myself from other people."

On why that hit was so traumatic that he wanted to quit: "I was big for my size and I went against the biggest dude on the team. I guess that's what coach wanted me to go through in the beginning and I got knocked out. I was running the ball and he played defense; he'd been there. He was 10 years old and I was seven. He ran right through me and I had a stinger. I got up, I walked off and then I told coach that I don't know if I'm ready for this game. My daddy was mad at me. I ended up talking to him. We cried, well, I cried and he brought me back out the following year and I told him that I'm not going to quit. I'm going to stick it out."

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