No one is more relieved that Jimmy Graham is back to work than the tight end himself.
"I'm beyond excited," Graham told the team's official website Tuesday night. "I didn't get into football to learn litigation. I got into football to win games with my teammates, friends and coaches. I am extremely happy to get back to what it's really about."
Graham signed a four-year, $40 million contract Tuesday that makes him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
The tight end said the toughest part of his 27-week contract standoff -- which included a system arbitration to determine his position under the franchise tag -- was being away from the team.
While the sides argued about whether he should be paid like a tight end or receiver, Graham said he designed his routine similar to how he did during the 2011 lockout.
"And after the lockout, I had one of my best seasons I have ever had," he said.
With a healthy foot this year, the pass-catcher could be in for another monster season.
Graham has a new contract in one hand but would like to slip a ring on the other.
"When I look around, I see these other teams winning rings," he said. "I see guys holding a trophy that I don't have. That's the thing I want most. I want to help bring another Lombardi Trophy to New Orleans. It's what I first walked into. When I arrived at the Saints facility as a rookie, the Lombardi Trophy was staring at me in the face. It motivated me and remains my main motivation.
"The contract doesn't change that. I still have my personal and team goals. I am focused more than ever on accomplishing those goals."