Brandon Graham has been here a long time and it all might come down to this.
There are four games left in the 2018 season.
There are four games left on Graham's contract.
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As the Eagles gear up to make what they hope will be a magical run into the postseason, as they try to repeat as Super Bowl champs, one of their Super Bowl heroes and one of the longest-tenured athletes in the city understands this could be his last hoorah.
He desperately wants to go out the right way.
I thought about it. And I'm just like, man, what better way if this is going to be the last year, than go out winning a back-to-back. I feel like, us right now, all we gotta do is get into it and the sky is the limit on where we can go. We're getting healthy at the right time. And, yes, I have thought about it, trying to make it special.
The only player who has been with the Eagles longer is Jason Peters, who arrived in 2009, one year before Graham was taken in the first round of Michigan. Graham and Peters have played 123 regular season games in an Eagles uniform; no one on the current roster has played more.
Graham is 30 now and this coming offseason will probably be his last chance to make some real money in the NFL. Howie Roseman has previously said Graham deserves that type of contract, but a deal was never struck between the two sides and now, Graham is just a few months away from testing the market and very possibly heading elsewhere for the first time in his career.
That's why these last four games, starting with a battle for first place down in Dallas this weekend, mean so much to him.
This contract year for Graham hasn't exactly gone to plan. He had offseason ankle surgery and missed all of the spring workouts and the preseason. His production has accordingly dipped. Through 12 games, he has just four sacks, although he had a big one Monday night against Washington. Graham said he was told after around 10 games, he would start feeling a lot better. It looks like that's coming to fruition and just in the nick of time.
His career and time in Philadelphia have been truly remarkable. He was once the draft bust who wasn't Earl Thomas or JPP. He was the guy whose mother wouldn't even wear his jersey to games for fear of repercussions. Then he became a role player. Then he became a starter. Then he became a legend with one strip sack in the Super Bowl.
More importantly for him, he became a husband and a father during his time in Philly. He has one child and one more on the way. He grew up here. He made this his home.
And he might have four games left.
"It always means more," Graham said. "It's special, what's going on as far as where I am in my life and, man, I've been here nine years. I'm going to be ready for whatever happens. Hopefully, it's back here or somewhere else. I know I will always be here in Philly. It is going to be special, so let's do it the right way."
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