While I was participating in my first fantasy football draft of the year Saturday night, I also had the Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints game playing on my television in the background. It was certainly a high-action game, with both Matt Schaub and Drew Brees lighting it up in the first half, as both teams combined for 48 points in just two quarters of play.
With 15 seconds to go in the first half, Brees connected on a touchdown pass with tight end Jimmy Graham in double coverage. Graham promptly raced over to the goal post to do his patented slam dunk celebration, but then the CBS announcers started talking about former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar. My attention immediately went to the television screen and I was surprised to hear how much of an impact Kosar had on Graham's development and his choice to pursue a career as an NFL player. After a quick search, I was able to dig up some background information on Kosar's involvement with Graham in a Sports Illustrated article:
"We had some similar friends and I heard he was trying to get in touch with me," said Kosar. "So one day we were hanging out in a backyard with a bunch of them and we start playing catch. He's got as good a pair of hands as anybody I've thrown to, and I've played in AFC Championship games.
"Then I started talking about routes and he seemed to pick it up. And with that physical presence and the way he uses his body, I could throw it 11 feet in the air and he'd still jump up 12 feet to get it. I kept telling him, 'Jimmy, not only are you going to be a great player, you're going to be a superstar. He looked at me like I was an idiot or trying to be nice. But I just believed it from the first time I threw to him."
Kosar would spend the next few months throwing to Graham, traveling to various high school fields around Miami to run posts and fades, to talk about how to use his hands and how to get separation from defensive backs. "We worked on the release and [depth] of the routes, and that whether you bow out to the corner or do a middle read vs. a Tampa-2 or a hook, it should all look the same," Kosar said. "He was like a sponge, trying to listen, trying to get the footwork down. "Early on he wasn't sure if he was doing it right. I'm not sure he was ever really confident because he'd never really done it. Now he knows he's good, he knows he's going to get open, he knows he's going to catch the ball."
Next, I went to Twitter to see if anyone was talking about Graham and Kosar. As it turns out, it sounds like Kosar was listening to the broadcast live and heard the complimentary remarks. Here is a series of tweets that ensued from Kosar:
Wow on CBS now watching My Little Brother Jimmy Graham just catch Another touch Down Pass for Drew Brees &Talk about all the work we DID— Bernie Kosar (@BernieKosarQB) August 26, 2012
jimmy Is A Special Person!for him Not To Be A Brown Is A Sin,But Mickey Loomis and Coach Peyton Trusted me &they have a SuperStar— Bernie Kosar (@BernieKosarQB) August 26, 2012
For those who aren't used to Twitter, Kosar implied that he tried hard to push the front office in 2010 to draft Graham, but it fell on deaf ears, no matter who he told. In 2010, Graham was taken by the Saints in the third round with the 95th overall pick. Three picks earlier, with the 92nd overall pick, the Browns were on the clock. They took offensive guard Shawn Lauvao.
Hopefully Cleveland ends up getting their own "gem" with tight end Jordan Cameron, who has had an impressive camp and could end up being the team's starting tight end on opening day.