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Jimmy Graham: Packers hunger was defining factor for me

Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Jimmy Graham #88 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a second quarter touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Tight end Jimmy Graham started work with his new team this week and he took some time on Tuesday to explain what led him to sign with the Packers in the first place.

Graham said he’s been “pretty good friends” with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers since spending time with him at a Pro Bowl several years ago and that gave him insight into Rodgers’ mindset when he was considering offers this offseason.

“There was a lot of teams out there who were really pulling on me, and I turned down quite a significant amount of money to come here because I believe in not only Mike but, I mean, 12’s hungry,” Graham said, via ESPN.com. “I know how he is and I know how competitive he is, and I want to ride that wave and try to help him as best I can. For me, it’s about winning a ring. Simple as that. I know this team, I know Aaron’s hungry, I know the coaching staff’s hungry, this franchise is hungry to win one. And that was the defining factor for me.”

A return to the productivity of his Saints years would allow Graham to provide the maximum help to Rodgers and the rest of the Packers. His three years with the Seahawks provided mixed results as illustrated by last year’s 10 touchdown catches and 9.1 yards per catch.

Graham is confident that he can put up the bigger numbers -- “I’m still 6'7" and can still run a 4.5 [40-yard dash]” -- and fulfilling those expectations would be a major boost to Green Bay’s chances in 2018.