Tom Graham, a linebacker who played a key role in the first winning season in Broncos history, passed away on Tuesday night after a long illness.
Born in Harbor City, California, on April 15, 1950, Graham joined the Broncos in 1972 as a fourth-round pick from Oregon. He had a stellar career with the Ducks, earning honorable-mention All-America honors and eventually earning selection into the school's athletic hall of fame in 2001.
A part of John Ralston's first draft class as Broncos head coach and general manager, Graham became a starter six games into his rookie season, and helped the Broncos to a 30-23 upset of Oakland in his first career start.
One year later, Graham started every game during the 1973 season that saw the Broncos break through for their first winning campaign, finishing 7-5-2. Graham posted 95 total tackles and eight passes defensed during that season, including a career game against the 49ers in which he posted 12 stops and broke up four passes.
During the 1974 season, Graham was dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs. He completed that season in Kansas City and eventually played with the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills before his on-field career ended after the 1978 season.
After his retirement from playing, Graham returned to Denver and eventually became one of the most active members of the Broncos Alumni Association, serving on its board of directors.