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Jimmy Graham: 'Some dark days' on road back from injury

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since rupturing his patellar tendon last November.

"There were some dark days," Graham said. "It's been eight months. It's been a constant eight months. I've never been through something that every day you had to do something for it. Every day, you wake up, and until you go to bed, you're doing some type of rehab. It's been like that for me for eight months, and it'll continue to be like that for me for the next eight months.

"It's something that I'm always going to have to pay attention to. It's a part of life now. It makes me appreciate the game even more than I did. Just being out there today, I'm full of passion and full of fire. I get goosebumps just walking out of that door. So it was a great day."

Graham ran routes and caught passes from the quarterbacks during the first part of Wednesday's practice. Nothing he did required moving at full speed, and Graham stayed on the sideline once the offense and defense started going against each other.

Coach Pete Carroll has said that Graham is on track to play in Week 1, barring a setback.

Asked if that's his expectation, Graham said, "I can't really answer that. I'm not allowed to answer that."

After undergoing surgery, Graham's right leg was immobilized for 11 to 12 weeks. The rehab process involved learning how to stand and learning how to walk again, he said.

"For me, I think one of the biggest battles is mentally," Graham said. "You have good days and you have bad days. Randomly, you'll feel good for weeks, and then all of a sudden, you'll have a bad day where you're really sore. And you end up questioning yourself, like 'Am I doing the right thing? Why is this so hard?'

"Especially for me and my career, I feel like a lot of things have come easy. I've always been athletic and fast. To have to learn how to walk again, it's very humbling for sure."

Graham has spoken with others who have suffered the same injury, like former teammate Jon Stinchcomb and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. They emphasized how rushing back can lead to other injuries. So for now, the Seahawks' plan is push Graham along slowly.

"This team and every one of my teammates just uplifted me the entire time," Graham said. "I'm talking about Richard Sherman every day comes in that training room and encourages me. And every time I'm out here running, he steps out here.

"Luke Willson, [tight ends coach] Pat [McPherson], everybody in this building has been nothing but positive and nothing but encouraging about everything from how much they need me and how much they can't wait for me to get back. Just hearing that every day, all the love I get from this building, it definitely helps. ... I can't wait for that first touchdown, honestly. That'll be probably the sweetest moment for me."

On the defensive side of the ball Wednesday, rookie defensive lineman Jarran Reed suffered what looked like a left foot or ankle injury and was carted off the field. He later indicated he is OK.

A second-round pick out of Alabama, Reed is in line to be the Seahawks' starting nose tackle.
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