NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - It was the trade no one saw coming.
"It was surprising; I think it was surprising to a lot of people. none of us expected," Drew Brees said of his former top target.
In the offseason of 2015 the Saints pulled off a blockbuster deal and sent tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle.
"Hated to see him go, "Brees said. "We were close, and he was close with a lot of guys. Everybody loved him. We understand that things like that happen in this league."
Realistically, the deal has been a push for both teams. Graham has shaken off early to injuries and is second on the team with 27 catches. The Seahawks flipped the fourth round pick the Saints sent them to eventually move up and draft Tyler Lockett.
The Saints ended up with center Max Unger and linebacker Stephone Anthony. Anthony led the team in tackles last season but it struggling in year two. Unger has been rock solid in the middle of the Saints offensive line.
"His contributions to the team have been immeasurable," Brees said. "He has been tremendous. I'm very thankful for Max and very thankful that he is on our team."
On Sunday, Graham will return to New Orleans for the first time since the deal leaving mixed emotions for his former quarterback but the objective is crystal clear.
"I'm sure he is going to be amped up to be back. But I'm sure our fan base loves him and they love what he did for New Orleans and for our team. There's a lot of love there."