Brandon Graham Made Super Bowl-saving Play With 2 Injuries

Brandon Graham made the most important play in Eagles history with a high ankle sprain and a pulled hamstring. 

By the time Graham strip-sacked Tom Brady in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LII (relive the play here), the Eagles' veteran defensive end had already been dealing with a high ankle sprain for over a month. And during the game, he pulled his hammy and was forced to leave the field for a few plays. 

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That means Graham made the most important play in Eagles history with not just one, but two injuries. 

"Super Bowl, it's all or nothing now," Graham said Thursday, remembering his mindset. "It was just a mindset that I had to keep going. Try not to feel it. Put some Icy Hot on it and keep it going."

Eventually, that pulled hamstring healed. The high ankle sprain didn't on its own. So Graham had surgery - he called it a "clean out" - on May 1. He's been walking around in a boot since and will miss all of the Eagles' spring practices, but the hope is for him to be ready for training camp. 

Graham will be off his crutches by next week and said he's ahead of schedule in his rehab, although he declined to put a timetable on it. 

Really, though, his recovering ankle is just one concern this offseason. The other is his contract status. Graham, 30, is entering the final year of his current deal, which will pay him a base salary of $7 million (with an $8 million cap hit). Graham's agent and the Eagles have had contract talks, but nothing has been completed yet. 

That means Graham could enter the 2018 season with just this year left on his deal. 

"You always want to be secure, but I'm OK with whatever," Graham said. "Because at the end of the day, next week we get that ring. If we didn't have the team we have, then I would say let's get secure. But we have a great team again. I'm hoping to be a part of it because we have an open window to go back to back and continue to make this the norm like we've talked about. … I know I'm 30 years old and I know it's a business too, but I gotta keep showing them that I'm just going to keep taking it up and go out on my terms."

The Eagles just gained around an extra $6 million in cap space after the release of Mychal Kendricks, but it seems unlikely that was the holdup on Graham's deal. Still, there seems to be a chance of a new contract this summer. 

The fact Graham didn't have long-term stability makes his playoff run with that high ankle sprain he suffered on Christmas Day even more commendable. But Thursday, Graham also praised Alshon Jeffery, who also needed offseason surgery after playing through a torn rotator cuff. 

"Everybody persevered through because they seen the opportunity for our team," Graham said. "We gotta maximize and capitalize on it. We had no quit in us." 

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