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Brandon Graham wants his ‘farewell tour' final season in 2024

Brandon Graham plans on retiring after the 2024 season but wants one last season with the Eagles.

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Brandon Graham’s goal has always been to play 15 years in the NFL.

He’s pretty darn close.

The Eagles lost to the Buccaneers in the playoffs on Monday night, wrapping up Graham’s 14th NFL season. After the 32-9 loss, Graham was asked if he’s returning next year.

“I want to,” the 35-year-old answered. “It’ll be my farewell tour next year. If the Eagles want me to do it one more time, I would love to be here for another year. Because I know we got something special. Fifteen, my farewell tour. I’ll be done next year.”

Graham plans to retire after the 2024 season but he wants to run it back one more time with the Eagles.

With the news that Jason Kelce is retiring, it’s fair to wonder about the futures of the other longest-tenured Eagles. Lane Johnson said on Monday night that he has a “few good years left” and is still under contract. But Graham and Fletcher Cox are both set to be free agents in March.

Graham, who will turn 36 in April, saw his playing time dip significantly in 2023. He went from playing 43% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in 2022 to 34% this season and he wasn’t nearly as productive.

But Graham still showed he can be a valuable member of the edge rotation. He had 3 sacks, 4 TFLs and 6 QB hits in the regular season. And in the embarrassing playoff loss to the Bucs, at least Graham showed up. He had a sack and three tackles for loss.

Of course, if Graham is to return in 2024, he’ll need a new contract. Graham played this past season on a one-year, $5 million deal. But as long as the Eagles want him back for one more season, Graham wants to be here.

It’s hard to imagine the Eagles without Kelce. But it’s hard to imagine them without Graham too.

“We’re going to be better next year, man,” Graham said. “I know Howie (Roseman) is already thinking about the offseason and what he gonna do, work his magic and I can’t wait to see what he does. Because I know this organization is going to get it right. It’s something that the fans could look forward to. I know they’re mad right now but at the end of the day, what we gonna do about it? Everybody got something that they can do for this offseason. 

“I hope this thing fueled them because it’s fueling me to get back to what we know we can do. Let’s not waste no more time. Every team is different. Like I told these boys, it’s going to be different next year. I hope to be a part of it. Because I do know that we ain’t that far away.”

The Eagles drafted Graham in the first round back in 2010. That was the first year Roseman was officially the Eagles’ general manager, so Graham is the first player he drafted. While Roseman has warned against sentimentality before, Graham is a special player to him.

Heck, Graham is a special player to the entire franchise. He’s the longest tenured athlete in the city and he went from being considered a bust to making one of the biggest plays in franchise history and becoming a beloved figure in Philly.

After starting the 2023 season with a 10-1 record, the Eagles completely collapsed down the stretch. They lost six of their final seven games and lost several of them, including Monday’s playoff game, in embarrassing fashion.

But Graham is an optimist and he always finds the good in a situation.

“I wouldn’t trade the year for nothing, man,” he said. “I learned a lot about myself as a captain. One of the hardest years for me as a captain but it was a great year too. Because it tested my character. It’s been good the last four or five years. This year, some of the stuff that we was doing, for us, we all wish we can have some plays back. But that ain’t in the real world. 

“I just know that this team, we built some character together, going through these tough times are definitely going to build us for next year. I just hope the fans believe that.”

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