Jimmy Graham didn’t know where he was going. He was relaxed enough to fall asleep alongside his sister as his mother drove them to an unknown location, completely unaware of how much his life was about to change when he woke up. When the car came to a stop and Graham opened his eyes, his surroundings were no longer familiar.
“I woke up and it was a new place with many, many new people who I’d never met, who automatically for some reason didn’t like me,” Graham said.
His mom had dropped her 11-year-old son off at Goldsboro Community Orphanage in North Carolina, and she wouldn’t be back to pick him back up. Graham would spend the next three years at the over-capacity group home, a difficult and sometimes violent experience that shaped him into the man he is today. With his red hair, freckles and a nationality unrecognizable to the other kids living with him, Graham was the subject of constant bullying. Now a three-time Pro Bowler who has caught 51 touchdowns in his five-year career, the new Seattle Seahawks tight end talks about that experience, how it shaped him, and the start of his second career in Seattle.