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Kent Graham
Position(s)
Quarterback
Jersey #(s)
10, 11
Born November 1, 1968 (1968-11-01) (age 41)
Winfield, Illinois
Career information
Year(s) 19922002
NFL Draft 1992 / Round: 8 / Pick: 211
College Notre Dame
Ohio State
Professional teams
Career stats
TD-INT 39-33
Yards 7,801
QB Rating 69.0
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards
  • No notable achievements

Kent Douglas Graham (born November 1, 1968, in Winfield, Illinois) is a former professional American football quarterback in the National Football League. Graham played quarterback at the University of Notre Dame before transferring to Ohio State University. After his college career, Graham had a lengthy career in the NFL during which he played for the New York Giants in two separate stints, as well as starting for the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He finished his career in 2002 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Early years

Graham attended Wheaton North High School in Wheaton, Illinois, where he was awarded the National High School Quarterback of the Year honor by The National Quarterback Club in 1986. Recruited by Notre Dame, he would win his first career start for the Irish as a freshman against Boston College in 1987. However, the option-run offense implemented by coach Lou Holtz was an imperfect fit for the drop-back passer, and after his sophomore year he transferred to Ohio State, where he would be the starter for the 1991 campaign that finished 8-4.

Professional career

Graham began his NFL career with the Giants in 1992, and was thrust into the starting lineup during the season after Phil Simms and Jeff Hostetler both went down to injuries. Although Graham also was injured during the year, he managed to start three games for the Giants that year and play in three others. He stayed with the team for two more years, only getting one more start, before leaving to play with the Detroit Lions in 1995. After not seeing any action, he signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 1996, where he eventually became the team's starting quarterback. In two separate stints as Cardinals quarterback, Graham threw for a combined 3,032 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.

Graham returned to the Giants in 1998 to serve as backup to Danny Kanell, who had led the team to the NFC East title the previous year. After Week 11, with the Giants sitting at 3-7, Graham was elevated to the starter's job over Kanell. He made an immediate impact by winning two of his first three starts, then led the Giants to a major upset over the then-undefeated Denver Broncos in Week 15 by throwing a late touchdown pass to Amani Toomer to clinch the victory. Graham led the Giants to a 5-1 record in the last 6 games, and led them to within one win of the playoffs at 8-8.

Graham started the 1999 season as the starter, but was replaced by offseason acquisition Kerry Collins after his ninth start. He would never play another down for the Giants, as he was released after the season.

In February 2000 Graham was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on a $ 5.1 million deal over three years to replace Mike Tomczak who had been released in the off-season, but who had served as a mentor for Kordell Stewart. In the wake of Stewart, who was having to cope with drastic changes to the offensive team members, having a mediocre 1999 season and a competitive first training camp, Coach Bill Cowher (who, according to media rumors, was nearly fired by the Steelers organization for giving Stewart too many chances) assigned Graham as the starting quarterback for the start of the 2000 season. Despite solid efforts, Graham performed less than impressive, beginning the season 0-3 due to Pittsburgh's defensive weaknesses. In the third game of the season vs. the Tennessee Titans, Graham threw for 254 yards in one of the best offensive showings for the Steelers in over two seasons before injuring his hip late in the game and being replaced by Kordell Stewart, who went on to lead the team to two straight victories as Graham recovered. This built a quarterback controversy among fans and media. When Graham returned in week 7 of the season, he struggled against Cincinnati, completing only 13 of 33 passes. In week 8 he looked lost vs. the Cleveland Browns, completing only three of his first eight passes before Cowher benched Graham in favor of Stewart. Stewart, consistently better performances, would regain the starting quarterback position for the remainder of the 2000 season. Graham would play in only two more games with the Steelers, filling in for a few plays for Stewart in Weeks 13 and 14, completing one of two and one of three vs. Cincinnati and Oakland. Graham was released by the Steelers after the season to be picked up by the Washington Redskins.

External links

Preceded by
Greg Frey
Ohio State Buckeyes
Starting Quarterbacks
1991
Succeeded by
Kirk Herbstreit
Preceded by
Danny Kanell
New York Giants
Starting Quarterbacks
1998-1999
Succeeded by
Kerry Collins
Preceded by
Kordell Stewart
Pittsburgh Steelers
Starting Quarterbacks
2000
Succeeded by
Kordell Stewart

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