EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** For Taylor Graham, participating in the Giants' rookie minicamp is not only a longshot opportunity to play in the NFL, it's a chance to relive part of his youth.
Graham spent time around the team in 1998-99, when his father, Kent Graham, did the second of his two stints with the Giants.
"I remember running around the stadium after games, so I have a lot of memories that are coming back now," Taylor Graham said. "This is pretty special."
Both Grahams are quarterbacks. Kent was the Giants' eighth-round draft choice in 1992, the 211th overall selection. He went on to play nine years in the NFL, including five seasons in those two tours with the Giants.
Now his son walks a far more difficult path as he pursues his dream of becoming a Giants quarterback.
Taylor Graham, who played only nine games at two colleges, is one of three quarterbacks attending the minicamp on a tryout basis. It's very possible the Giants will shake his hand and thank him for coming when the camp ends on Sunday. But father and son are hopeful the outcome will be more favorable.
"These stories happen a lot, where you hear free agents making it," Kent Graham said. "I think he has a chance with the skill set he has. He can throw it pretty well and he's big. Physically, he has to go out there and prove it and make the throws and I think he's gifted to where he can do that."
"There are a lot of parallels between my dad's and my career," Taylor said. "He told me about the rich tradition here of undrafted free agents making it and being contributors and they've reinforced that here. He said, 'Relax, be yourself, go play and have fun.'"
Taylor has waited a long time to do just that. He began his college career at Ohio State, where his father graduated from after transferring from Notre Dame. After a redshirt year, he appeared briefly in one game in 2011. Urban Meyer was then hired as the Buckeyes' head coach and installed a spread offense. Graham, a pro-style quarterback, looked elsewhere and eventually transferred to Hawaii to play for coach Norm Chow.
Graham played in six games in 2013 and just two – with one start – last year before suffering a season-ending broken foot. His career totals included 122 passes, 58 completions, 595 yards and three touchdowns, miniscule numbers compared to many other collegiate quarterbacks.
Asked if he was worried he wouldn't get a chance with an NFL team, Graham said, "Absolutely. That's why I really value the chance to be here. I didn't have a very good college career. I wasn't expecting anything more than a free agent tryout. I have confidence in my abilities and what I can do. I'm just thankful it's a great team and a great organization that's given me a chance."
Taylor has wanted to play quarterback since about the time he learned to walk.
"I would come home from practice and he'd be in the driveway working on his three-step drop," Kent said. "Even at a young age he had the passion to play the position. He loves it. We're just hopeful that he can take advantage of that gift."
"I remember that," Taylor said of the driveway drills. "We were home-schooled at the time. I didn't have anything to do, so I was out there just dropping and waiting for dad to get home from practice. Being a quarterback is something he's been teaching me for a while. I've been trying to soak in as much information as I can."
The best photos from day one of Giants Rookie Mini-camp
In his five seasons with the Giants, Kent Graham played in 48 games with 19 starts. He threw for 3,760 yards, 20 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
Graham's finest moment occurred on Dec. 13, 1998, when he threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer with 48 seconds left in the game to defeat a 13-0 Denver Broncos team that would soon win its second consecutive Super Bowl.
Graham retired following the 2001 season. He also played for Arizona, Pittsburgh and Washington, but considers himself a Giant.
"The Maras and the Tisches, Jim Fassel and the organization were the only ones that believed in me and gave me a shot to prove myself," Kent Graham said. "Obviously, I have very fond feelings for the Giants. It's such a first-class organization.
"Coming out of college, I was very much like Taylor in terms of no one really thought a whole lot of me. As a dad, you're thankful he has a chance with good people and good coaches. And it's the best city in the world. It's an unbelievable opportunity for him, and hopefully he can take advantage of it. It's amazing how it's come right back to the Giants, I just can't believe it."
The other quarterbacks in camp are Gary Nova of Rutgers and Pete Thomas of Louisiana-Monroe. This could be the only chance any of them have to impress an NFL team.
"Taylor is just looking for an opportunity to prove himself," Kent Graham said. "Hopefully, he'll take advantage of it."
Photos of former Giants QB Kent Graham