Ex-Estancia Standout Shines Despite Loss in WLAF Debut
Jeff Graham, a football, basketball and baseball standout who graduated from Estancia High School in 1984, came off the bench Sunday to throw for a game-high 178 yards and run for his team’s only touchdown in the New York/New Jersey Knights’ 19-7 loss to the Barcelona Dragons in the World League of American Football opener for both teams at Barcelona.
Graham, who signed March 14, replaced Todd Hammel (eight for 19, 87 yards, two interceptions) after Barcelona took a 19-0 lead with 4 minutes 43 seconds left in the first half. Playing in a torrential rain and strong, cold wind, Graham completed 14 of 20 passes and led the Knights with 38 yards on six carries. Graham hit six of seven passes for 65 yards on a 13-play, 75-yard fourth-quarter drive which he capped with a one-yard run with 25 seconds left.
Barcelona quarterback Scott Erney ran six yards for a touchdown and threw a 43-yard pass to Gene Taylor for another score. Former Oklahoma running back Lydell Carr got Barcelona’s other touchdown on a one-yard run in the second quarter. The game drew 19,223 fans to 55,000-seat Montjuic Stadium, the site of the track and field events for the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Graham, 25, was the Green Bay Packers’ fourth-round choice and 87th overall selection in the 1989 NFL draft, but was dealt to the Washington Redskins in a draft-day trade. The Cal State Long Beach standout was released by the Redskins during the 1989 preseason, but was signed to a spot on the Cleveland Browns’ developmental squad. Graham was waived by the Browns before the start of the 1990 regular season.