Pete Carroll says Jimmy Graham is tough enough

Don’t try to tell Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll that newly acquired tight end Jimmy Graham isn’t tough.

"That’s not accurate," Carroll said Thursday in an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle radio. "He’s a fantastic competitor.

"Here’s a stat I like. When he was in college playing basketball, he was the leading rebounder in the history of the University of Miami. That’s a huge stat about toughness. You can’t get rebounds year after year unless you compete and battle to get the ball. He shows that kind of desire and that toughness in his play."

Carroll said he had just come out of a meeting where the coaches watched tape of every pass that was thrown to Graham last season.

"When you get 140-something targets, there’s a lot of shots they get to take at you," Carroll said. "He gets pounded in [the Saints] offense. I don’t think he’s going to get hit like that in our offense, because it will be harder to zoom in on him. He will be a better fit [in Seattle] in that regard.

"He’s very tough making catches in all situations, but when you get so many chances, plays show up where you say, 'Maybe he could have held on to that ball.' But he's taking the hits and he always bounces right back and makes the play the next time. So we have no problem [with Graham’s toughness], and think he’s going to fit in well here. And the toughness and mentality we have here will only bring about the best in him."

Carroll also likes what he has seen Graham do after he catches the ball.

"You also will see that he runs with the football very aggressively," Carroll said. "You see it when he’s carrying the football, trying to run over guys and leap over guys."

Graham flew to Seattle on Wednesday afternoon and passed his physical Wednesday night, which was tweeted by Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Carroll said everyone in the organization was impressed with Graham.

"He blew our socks off [Wednesday] being around us and going out to dinner and everything," Carroll said. "We had done a lot of work on his background stuff. He had a tough upbringing, and he’s a guy who has come through it.

"He’s very bright and a very well-rounded person, a remarkable person, really. He’s a very aware football player. He’s very likeable and is not going to have any trouble transitioning. He’s got a little swagger and confidence about him that our guys are going to like. He will love the competitive nature of our team."

Carroll said Graham and Russell Wilson have spoken, and are anxious to get started working together.

"Jimmy said, 'Wherever Russell goes, that’s where I’m going.'" Carroll said. "He’s tuned in, man. I think our fans are going to absolutely love this guy. He’s energetic and he’s really a sharp guy."