Education and Experience
Rod Graves is in his fourth season with the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation as Executive Director. He joined the FPA after spending 37 years with the National Football League. His experience includes serving in several executive positions in the NFL, including Senior Vice President of Football Administration at the National Football League and General Manager of the Arizona Cardinals.
Graves’ primary duties as Executive Director are to set organizational and policy initiatives, oversee the development of programs that support the mission of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, and ensure the viability of the FPA.
Graves, 63, began his career in professional football in 1982 as an area scout for the Philadelphia Stars of the United States Football League. He joined the National Football League in 1984 as a regional scout for the Chicago Bears. He was a contributor to the Chicago Bears’ 1986 NFL Championship team. Graves was promoted to Director of College Scouting in 1993. In 1994, he was promoted to director of player personnel.
In 1997, Graves joined the Arizona Cardinals as Assistant to the President. He was promoted to Vice President of Football Operations in 2003 and was named General Manager in 2007, with departmental responsibility for operations, strategic planning, budgeting, player acquisitions, contract negotiations, and scouting. As GM, he guided the Arizona Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in 2008. He oversaw the drafts and UFA acquisitions of Cardinals Pro Bowl players Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Patrick Peterson, Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Adrian Wilson, Thomas Jones, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, Antrel Rolle, Kurt Warner, Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James, Neil Rackers, Bertrand Berry, and Sean Morey.
During his time in Arizona, he served as one of the longest-tenured personnel decision-makers in the NFL.
Graves received the Paul “Tank” Younger Award from the Fritz Pollard Alliance in 2011. The annual honor is given to an individual who displays outstanding work, on and off the field, in leveling the playing field for minorities in the NFL.
In 2013, Graves joined the New York Jets as Senior Director of Football Administration. In 2015 he moved to NFL headquarters as Senior Vice President of Football Administration and Club Services.
Rod and his wife, Dreama, have maintained their commitment to service. They devote their time and resources to supporting charitable organizations such as The United Way and The American Diabetes Association.
Rod is a Pace University graduate currently enrolled at Fordham University Law School as a Master’s candidate in Studies of Law.
Rod is the son of the late Jackie Graves, former player personnel executive of the Philadelphia Eagles. He and Dreama reside in Chicago, IL. They have three children: Brittany, Taylor, and Joshua.