Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a tendon injury, head coach Pete Carroll confirmed.
The three-time Pro Bowler's setback overshadowed the Seahawk's thrilling 39-30 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers which kept their play-off hopes alive, and coach Carroll lifted the lid on the player's state of mind.
"He's broken hearted. He wants to play. He loves this game and he wants to play for his teammates and play the game he loves, and he's not going to get to do that," said Carroll.
"It's really the first time he has faced a major injury like this, so it's devastating at this point. He was pretty broken up last night, and we spent a little time with him just to show him the love, because he needs it and deserves it."
Although Graham is expected to be fit for the start of next season, Carroll has called on the likes of Luke Willson to step up in his absence.
"You don't replace a Jimmy Graham. Jimmy Graham's a great personality on our team, he's a wonderful kid, everybody loves him, he's a great competitor and he's a fantastic talent," he added.
"We just go do what we do with the guys we have, and we're fired up about that.
"It breaks my heart that he doesn't get to play, but as for going on, we're going to move ahead and keep going and we'll expect Luke to step up and do the things that he can do. I think he's going to be a terrific player for us down the stretch."