Tight end Jimmy Graham won’t say whether he’s mulling an offer for a renewed contract from the New Orleans Saints. But on Saturday, he called New Orleans “a great organization” that he is “blessed” to be a part of.
“That whole situation isn’t important to me right now,” Graham told reporters asking him to comment on a Pro Football Talk report that he had not responded to an offer of a new deal with the Saints. “I’m going to go out and play football ... to the best of my abilities, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Graham has caught 23 passes for 358 yards and four touchdowns, making him the most productive tight end in the NFL and helping the Saints to a 3-0 start.
Graham could become the best-paid tight end in league history, with pundits suggesting a market value of about $10 million per year. But Graham said he felt he still has “a lot to prove and a lot to show” in the last year of his rookie contract.
“For me, it really is all football,” he said. “I’m going to try to do all I can to put this team in the best situation to win.”
Red-zone chess match
Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said his players will have to be at their best Monday night to slow the Miami Dolphins’ red-zone offense, the most efficient in the NFL and one of the reasons why they’re 3-0.
Miami has scored seven touchdowns and one field goal on its eight trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Ryan said it was going to be “a chess match” facing Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, who was the Green Bay Packers’ offensive coordinator when they won Super Bowl XLV three seasons ago. But Ryan added that his defense didn’t spend its extra day to prepare for Miami “by sleeping on the bed.”
“We’re ready,” he said. “We’ll be fine.”
Meachem gets TD ball back
Robert Meachem has been reunited with the ball he caught for a touchdown last Sunday against Arizona.
Meachem tossed the ball into the stands of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to celebrate his first score since returning to New Orleans for a sixth season after spending 2012 with San Diego. But following the game, he said he wished he had kept the ball as a memento.
According to the Saints, fan Maurice Lightfoot caught the ball and gave it to Sister Marie Bertrand, a nun sitting in front of him. Bertrand and Lightfoot heard Meachem wanted the ball back, so they brought it to the Saints facility Saturday.
Meachem thanked them by giving them both an autographed football. He said he told Lightfoot and Bertrand, “I’ll score another one and throw it back in your direction.”
Harper, Bunkley out
The Saints on Saturday ruled out safety Roman Harper and nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley from playing against the Dolphins. Harper (knee) and Bunkley (calf) missed team drills all week.
Eight Saints were listed as questionable: running back Mark Ingram (toe), receiver Lance Moore (hand), defensive end Tom Johnson (hamstring), guard Jahri Evans (hamstring), guard Tim Lelito (calf), cornerback Chris Carr (knee), defensive end Tyrunn Walker (knee) and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (ankle).
Dolphins rule out Patterson
The Dolphins ruled out cornerback Dimitri Patterson with a groin injury. Defensive tackle Paul Soliai (knee), safety Chris Clemons (hamstring/quadriceps), linebacker Koa Misi (shoulder) and defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) are questionable.