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Brandon Graham ready to battle for spot

5/29/2014

PHILADELPHIA – Linebacker Brandon Graham is about to enter the final season of his rookie contract.

There’s so much on the line for the former first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles.

In the offseason, Graham’s name was reportedly floated in trade talks. But he’s still here and ready to produce.

"I just go hard, man,” Graham said as the Eagles completed three days of OTAs. “I came in at the right weight -- 265 pounds -- and I'm feeling good. I'm controlling what I can. Whatever the rumors were, I didn't pay attention to them because I've got a role to play.

“I don't talk about it. It's not my place. I feel like they still want me here. I'm still here. All the rumors, or whatever it is, it's just rumors. I feel like if there was something they wanted to do, I'd be good. I can adjust to anything. I want to show those guys that I really want to be here because I love Philadelphia. I made it my home. I would be sad if I have to go.”

Graham’s weight is right where he wants it to be. That wasn’t the case last season.

“Last year, I was dealing with a weight issue,” said Graham, who has 11.5 career sacks. “This year, it's really not a problem. I'm moving around a lot better. ... With a year under my belt, I feel like I can take it to another level. Last year, I was a lot more nervous. I was trying to do too much. This year, I'm a lot more calm. I know where to be and I know what coaches want me to do. It's been fun for me, showing them that it's really important to me that I want to be here.”

Graham watched the NFL draft and saw the Eagles select Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith with the No. 26 overall pick.

Graham and Smith are both pass-rushers taken in the first round. They’ll also be competing for playing time.

“I was cool,” Graham said of watching the Eagles draft Smith. “I was like, ‘Hey, we've got competition coming in.’ I'm going to go out and do what I can and not stress about it. I'm happy. I know what I can do. I'm going to go out and show everybody what I can do. My weight was the biggest thing. Now I have that under control with my wife helping me. My girl, she cooks for me every day. I'm going to go home and eat my lunch right now.”

Graham said he’s excited for the competitive nature of OTAs and training camp.

“It was a big adjustment coming in,” Graham said of being a first-round pick. “It was a lot of pressure. It's not pressure any more. I know what I can do. I can't wait to go out there and show it. I love Philadelphia. I really want to be here. ... [Coach] Chip [Kelly] is a great coach. Coach [Bill] Davis is also a great coach, too. I want to give them everything I can so I can be safe on this team. If not, somebody's going to get something good. But I know I really want to be here.”