Saints TE Daniel Graham, an 11-year NFL veteran, is enjoying his first season in New Orleans as a member of the Black and Gold but he can't wait to return home.
Graham, a Denver, Colo. native, will have that opportunity this Sunday when the Saints go on the road to face the Broncos in primetime on Sunday Night Football on NBC.
He will have a chance to go back to Denver and face his former team, this time while donning a fleur-de-lis.
"This is another game, another opportunity," said Graham. "I am with the Saints now and that is the only thing that matters."
The 6-3, 257 pound, tight end played for the Broncos for four seasons from 2007 to 2010 and appeared in 63 games. Graham started 61 of those games in Denver and recorded 102 catches for 1,072 yards and seven touchdowns while being named a team captain for his final three seasons.
Graham did hint that getting a win over his former team might leave him with some satisfaction.
"I was telling one of the guys a couple weeks ago, that is one thing you are always hoping for, that victory over your old team," said Graham. "It's always extra special to beat the team you used to play for."
Even before entering the NFL, Graham had become accustomed to playing football in the Centennial State. He attended the University of Colorado where he registered 106 receptions for 1,543 yards and 11 touchdowns before being named the John Mackey Award (nation's top tight end) winner and consensus All-America as a senior.
Prior to enrolling in college, he attended Thomas Jefferson HS in Denver, Colo. where he was named a PrepStart All-American. In his senior year, he recorded 33 catches for 741 yards and six touchdowns while also registering 29 tackles (15 solo) and 12 sacks in seven starts at outside linebacker.
Graham is a member of what he describes as a "football family" but says there was no pressure despite the family's Colorado football ties.
"There is a lot of personal and family history that goes back to my dad playing there and me growing up a Broncos fan," said Graham.
Graham's father, Tom, played for the Broncos from 1972 to 1974 as a linebacker where he saw action in 33 games while starting 23 contests over three seasons. His older brother played at Colorado State University in the late 1980's.
For a number of reasons, Graham is excited to see his new team face off against his old team but he is most excited about the trip back to Denver.
"It's where I grew up," said Graham. "It's always fun going back there to play."