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Saints' Graham looking forward to football after California prosecutor declines charges

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham learned that he won't have to face charges stemming from his arrest in Southern California last month during what the club has described as a “medical episode.”

Graham declined to go into detail about exactly what happened leading up to his arrest, but was ready to discuss his eagerness to play his first regular-season football game in more than a year.

“I’m feeling great, just looking forward and excited to put (the arrest and related medical matter) behind me,” Graham said after practice on Thursday. “I’ll be fine in the long run. Just want to thank the organization and everybody that was with me through those couple of days.”

Kimberly Edds, a spokesperson for the Orange County District Attorney's office, said Thursday that no charges against Graham are being pursued at this time because there is “insufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“If there is additional information that comes to light, we will review that at that time,” Edds added.

When the Saints were in Southern California in August for joint practices and a preseason game with the Los Angeles Chargers, police in Newport Beach arrested Graham after responding to a call about a “suspicious male.”

Police brought Graham to a hospital, charged him with suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and resisting officers, and then released Graham into the Saints' care.

The team released a statement hours later saying Graham, whose hobby is flying airplanes, likely had a seizure.

“It’s kind of a personal health thing and I’m just going to keep it to myself,” Graham said when asked if he could provide further details about the incident. “I’m just looking forward to putting it behind me, and again, I can’t thank the organization enough for everything — all those days and all the people that were out there with me.”

Graham also thanked police for “how helpful they were through the process.”

Graham missed the preseason game with the Chargers that weekend, but returned to make three catches and score a touchdown in New Orleans' preseason finale against Houston.

“I entered that game trying to fight for my life,” Graham said of the preseason finale. “I know I had to be more and show that I still have the potential to be me.”

Graham, 36, joined the Saints on a one-year contract the day before training camp opened. He'd spent last season out of football entirely and his roster spot for the 2023 regular season was by no means guaranteed.

Now he's hoping to summon close to his five-time Pro Bowl form once again in New Orleans, where he spent his first five NFL seasons before stints with Seattle, Green Bay and Chicago.

The Saints open the regular season Sunday at home against Tennessee.

“Being away from the game since 2021 put a lot of perspective into it,” Graham said. “I’m grateful for any and every opportunity I’ve gotten so far and I’m looking to capitalize on any opportunity in the future.”

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