Demonstrates Excellence on the Field
Jimmy Graham is a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. He ranks No. 1 among NFL tight ends since 2010 in receiving yards, is second in receptions and receiving touchdowns and has 16 career multi-touchdown games, which is tied for third all-time. Jimmy holds single-season records in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns at tight end for both the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks; and is also the career overall leader at tight end for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns for both franchises. He is the only tight end in league history to have two seasons with 1,200-plus receiving yards and 10-plus receiving TDs (2011, 2013) and is the only tight end to register four consecutive seasons with 85-plus catches (2011-14). He also has recorded 64 career touchdown receptions in the red zone, which ranks No. 1 in the league since 2010. This season he is tied for third in the NFC with 22 catches and is and fourth in the NFL among tight ends with four touchdown catches.
Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts this Year
Jimmy has participated in weekly Zoom calls with veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project to thank them for their service and to lift their spirits during the pandemic. Since joining the Chicago Bears, he also made a substantial six-figure donation to Ignite, a Chicago based charity who stand with youth who are experiencing homelessness. Ignite offers a comprehensive continuum of services to young people between the ages of 14 to 26 who are unstably housed or experiencing homelessness. Beyond meeting youth's immediate needs, their services provide youth with all the tools and support they need to succeed. Jimmy's work with the organization ensures their doors stay open to meet the teens' needs during the pandemic. Jimmy also partnered with an apparel company to facilitate the donation of 1,000 masks to youth served by Ignite.
Through his own foundation, The Jimmy Graham Foundation, Jimmy provides flight experiences to veterans and youth across the country. His foundation revolves around giving back to those who have served in the military. Nearly every week in the off-season, Jimmy takes up veterans in his two recent US Army aircraft restorations; a 1957 deHavilland Beaver and 1967 UH1 Iroquois "Huey" helicopter. The Huey served as a part of the 170th Assault Helicopter Company. These aircrafts fought in the Vietnam War and they are the cornerstone of his giving back to our country. This past July, Jimmy reconnected Vietnam Veteran Crew Chief Steve Crawford with a flight in the Huey that shared the skies during his time with the 170th Assault Helicopter Company.
Jimmy helped kick-off Salute to Service week for the Bears by reading the bios of several fallen soldiers and virtually surprising their families through the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), an organization that honors and remembers fallen soldiers and their families. In recognition of his overall commitment to the military, Jimmy is the Chicago Bears nominee for the 2020 NFL Salute to Serve award.
During this season, Jimmy virtually joined Cabrini Green Legal Aid staff and their clients to discuss racial inequality and the criminal justice system. CGLA was established to serve the legal needs arising from the lack of opportunity, criminalization of poverty, and racial inequity experienced within communities in Chicago. The organization is one that has been supported on a larger scale by the Chicago Bears through the Social Justice initiative.
Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past
Jimmy has consistently given back throughout his career. He has worked extensively with Wounded Warrior Project and Angel Flight. He welcomed Wounded Warrior veterans at his charity corn hole tournaments in Green Bay in both 2018 & 2019. During his time in Seattle, Jimmy hosted veterans every week at the Seahawks facility on Lake Washington, flying them to the facility in his seaplane to thank them for their service. Jimmy has worked with Angel Flight going back to his time in New Orleans. Angel Flight's mission is to arrange free air transportation for people who need to travel to receive lifesaving medical treatment but lack the means. Also, during his time in New Orleans, he partnered with the local Navy base to give away bikes to 80 children.
Since 2018, Jimmy has served as the Co-Chairman of the EAA Young Eagles Program, a nationwide charity giving youth their first free ride in an airplane in order to introduce and inspire kids in the world of aviation. You can learn more about his foundation at: www.thejimmygrahamfoundation.org.
Demonstrates Consistency in Positive Character and Models a Lifestyle of Giving Back
An incredible misfortune, that serves as a testament to Jimmy's character and perseverance, occurred in 2015 when he ruptured his patellar tendon. He returned from the patellar tendon injury and made the Pro Bowl the following 2016 and 2017 seasons. In his first season with the Bears, Jimmy has already emerged as a leader on the team. He is supporting his teammates' charitable causes and the Bears community programs. He connects with others in need in a special way, as he has had to overcome adversity in his own life. Jimmy is leading by example and continually giving back to the communities in which he lives. The Chicago Bears are beyond proud to nominate him for the 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.