Hands of stone

Sports blotter: "Ex-Patriot" edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  January 16, 2008

080118_rambo_mian
GRAHAMBO: No guns, but ex-Patriot Daniel Graham was charged with misdemeanor harassment and criminal mischief for refusing to leave his ex-girlfriend’s home.
Grahambo: first blood
Yeah, that’s what they used to call him in these parts — or at least Tom Brady did, back when Daniel Graham was a genial, mildly underperforming first-round draft choice. A big, physical player who never became the pass-catching Ben Coates clone everyone hoped for, Graham instead turned into a “great blocking tight end,” which is NFL-ese for “stone-fingered in the flat.” Graham was a fixture on two championship teams and even made a couple of key plays in those runs, most notably a big down-the-seam catch in Super Bowl XXXVIII that, characteristically, he nearly turned into a disaster by coughing up the ball as he was tackled.

He left New England on the Damien Woody/Ty Law/Deion Branch/Asante Samuel (soon) express, becoming one of a number of Pats who got their rings here and then went on to chase the big money wearing different-colored unis. In Graham’s case, he at least left New England to go to Denver, where his father played in his NFL days and where Graham himself grew up. Like most of those departing Pats, his post–New England individual performance ended up being a disappointment — he had 24 catches this year for a team that sucked almost as badly as the Dolphins.

Now Graham has got a sheet. This past Friday, cops were called to the home of his ex-girlfriend, from whence Graham apparently refused to leave. The ex, who is also the mother of his child, told police he had damaged a bedpost and had refused repeated requests to leave following an argument about the sale of the house.

The Broncs had a brutal year on and off the field. They had two players die — cornerback Darrent Williams in a shooting and running back Damien Nash from a heart attack — and then they suffered through a series of arrests. Before he got waived, wideout David (“Circus”) Kircus was popped for punching someone at a party. Brandon Marshall, one of the few bright spots on the field, got a DUI. Third-string quarterback Darrell Hackney got arrested on a series of driving infractions in early December.

Now there’s Graham, as well as punter Todd Sauerbrun, another New-England-to-Denver transplant, who got cut by the Broncos after being arrested for a fight. Graham and Sauerbrun join a surprisingly long list of former Patriots who have been arrested in recent times, including our next (overlooked) subject . . .

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Anyone remember John Stephens? Big, bruising running back from Louisiana’s Northwestern State University, who came into the league during the dark days of the late ’80s and early ’90s and briefly looked like he was going to be a star? Some of the more pathetic Pats fans among us thought we had the next Eric Dickerson or something on our hands during his rookie year — that he might even lead us to six or seven wins some day.

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