American Football Database
American Football Database
Rod Graves
Personal information
Date of birth Unknown
Place of birth Houston, Texas
Career information
Position(s) General Manager
College Texas Tech University
Team(s) as a coach/administrator

Philadelphia Stars
Chicago Bears
(Director of Player Personnel)
Arizona Cardinals
(Vice President-Football Operations)

Rod Graves is a former National Football League executive. He is best known for his time as general manager of the Arizona Cardinals. He had previously spent time with the organization as Vice President of Football Operations, after being promoted to that position from Assistant to the President following the 2002 season.[1]


A native of Houston, Graves began his career in professional football personnel work in 1982 as a regional scout for the Philadelphia Stars of the United States Football League.[2] It was then he first crossed paths with former Cardinals’ Head Coach Vince Tobin, the Stars’ defensive coordinator. In 1983, Graves was promoted to assistant director of player personnel.

Chicago Bears

He joined the National Football League in 1984 as a regional scout for the Chicago Bears, a position he held until promoted to director of college scouting in 1993, then director of player personnel in 1994.[3]

During his tenure with the Bears, he worked for Bill Tobin, the team’s director of player personnel and older brother of former Cardinal head coach Vince Tobin, along with another former Cardinal head coach, Dave McGinnis, and running backs coach Johnny Roland.

Arizona Cardinals

Graves joined the Cardinals in June 1997 after 13 years in various personnel capacities with the Chicago Bears.[4] He was promoted to assume responsibility for administration of the Cardinals’ scouting department in May 1998.

In his position as Arizona Cardinals General Manager, Graves was responsible for all facets of the Cardinals’ football operations. He served as the team’s primary contract negotiator in addition to overseeing college and professional scouting efforts, assisting salary-cap management, and consulting on other business aspects of the football operation.

He was selected by Sports Illustrated as one of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports” in 2003[5] as well as one of the “50 Most Powerful Blacks in Sports” by Black Enterprise in 2005.[6] He served on the NFL’s C.E.C. Working Group Committee and the NFL College Advisory Committee.

On December 31, 2012, Graves was relieved of his GM duties for the Cardinals.[7] The team had gone 5-11 that season, and hadn't made the playoffs since losing to the New Orleans Saints in the 2009 NFL divisional playoff with Kurt Warner at quarterback.

Personal life

Graves, who graduated from Strake Jesuit College Preparatory and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Texas Tech, is the son of the late Jackie Graves, the former assistant director of player personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles. He resides in Phoenix with his wife, Dreama, and their three children—daughters Britne and Taylor, and son Joshua.


  1. Associated Press. "Three fired as Cardinals restructure football operations"., January 6, 2003. Retrieved on May 8, 2013.
  2. McClain, John. "USFL's Stars had three execs in the making". Houston Chronicle, January 18, 2004. Retrieved on May 8, 2013.
  3. Mitchell, Fred. "Bears' Fresh Management Team Prepares For Nfl's New Order". Chicago Tribune, February 13, 1994. Retrieved on May 8, 2013.
  4. The Daily Courier. "Cards hire Bidwill asst.". May 20, 1997, p. 12A. Retrieved on May 8, 2013.
  5. Deitsch, Richard. "New World Order". Sports Illustrated, May 5, 2003. Retrieved on May 8, 2013.
  6. Hughes, Alan. "Most Powerful African Americans In Sports". Black Enterprise, March 1, 2005. Retrieved on May 8, 2013.
  7. Somers, Kent. "Arizona Cardinals fire head coach Ken Whisenhunt, general manager Rod Graves"., January 1, 2013. Retrieved on May 8, 2013.

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