INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Saints tight end Jimmy Graham got the message from the NFL. He's not dunking footballs over goal posts any more.
On Saturday night, the Pro Bowl tight end finally responded to a $30,000 fine imposed by league officials. He called it "steep" and said "you can't really have fun anymore."
Graham was punished for two touchdown celebrations during last weekend's preseason win over Tennessee. The Saints received two 15-yard penalties and Graham received the fine for defying a rule put in after last season, when he pulled the crossbar off center during a game.
He didn't get a chance to celebrate Saturday in Indianapolis. Graham caught two passes for 49 yards and no touchdowns in a 23-17 victory.
[Other pre-season notes:]
New faces: FS Jairus Byrd, CB Champ Bailey, rookie WR Brandin Cooks, C Jonathan Goodwin.
Key losses: FS Malcolm Jenkins, SS Roman Harper, WR Lance Moore, C Brian de la Puente, FB Jed Collins.
Strengths: QB, DL, TE, DB, OL, P.
Weaknesses: LB, PK.
What's New: Saints aim to create more turnovers, hoping additions of Byrd and Bailey, as well as return from injury of CB Patrick Robinson, help to that end. Offense will have some new receivers in prominent roles, most notably first-round draft choice Cooks. Saints also aim to run ball better, relying on RB trio of Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson.
Expectations: Saints were playoff team last season and expect to be even better, though much will depend on health of key players including Byrd and pass-rushing tandem Cam Jordan and Junior Galette. If those key defensive players thrive, then offense led by record-setting QB Drew Brees, Saints' all-time leading receiver Marques Colston and All-Pro TE Jimmy Graham expects to have little trouble outscoring most opponents.