A versatile tight end who is a strong pass-blocker with good hands, McGrath played in all 16 games and made five starts for the Chargers in 2016. It was a significant contribution from a player who just few years ago voluntarily walked away from the game.
McGrath originally came into the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the Seahawks in 2012. He earned a spot on the practice squad and late that year was elevated to the active roster as the Seahawks advanced to the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
The following September, after being waived by Seattle, McGrath was claimed by the Chiefs, and he blossomed in Kansas City. He played in all 16 games in 2013 and started nine, catching 26 passes for 302 yards and a pair of scores.
Fast forward to 2014 and McGrath’s demeanor as he reported to the Chiefs’ training camp at Missouri Western had changed dramatically. Instead of checking into the dorms and joining his Chiefs teammates, McGrath instead met with Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager John Dorsey and informed them that he had decided to retire from the NFL. A studio art major in college, McGrath decided that he was going to hang up his cleats and return to Henderson State to finish his master’s degree. And with that, McGrath spent the 2014 year out of football.
The itch to play returned and McGrath signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015. He earned a spot on Indianapolis’ practice squad at the start of the season, and after being released, he signed with the Chargers. McGrath spent five weeks on the Bolts’ practice squad before being elevated to the active roster for the 2015 season finale.
McGrath lists disc golf and yoga among his hobbies. He is known around the NFL for his trademark beard. When he played in Kansas City, teammates simply referred to him as “The Beard.” McGrath’s beard even has its own twitter handle @Beard_O_McGrath.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Signed with Seattle as undrafted free agent, May 11, 2012...waived Aug. 31...re-signed to Seahawks’ practice squad, Sept. 2...released Sept. 3...re-signed to Seahawks’ practice squad, Sept. 8...released Sept. 27...re-signed to Seahawks’ practice squad Oct. 2...signed to Seahawks’ active roster, Dec. 18...waived Aug. 31, 2013...claimed by Kansas City, Sept. 1...waived April 15, 2015...signed with Indianapolis, June 3...waived Sept. 5...re-signed to Colts’ practice squad, Sept. 23...released Oct. 5...re-signed to Colts’ practice squad, Oct. 21...released Oct. 26...signed to Chargers’ practice squad Nov. 10...released Nov. 21...re-signed to Chargers’ practice squad, Nov. 24...signed to Chargers’ active roster, Dec. 28.
2017: Appeared in 15 games with six starts after being inactive for the season opener with a knee injury…Posted four catches for 46 yards (11.5 avg.) and added three special teams tackles…at Denver (Sept. 11): Inactive (knee)…vs. Miami (Sept. 17): Played on five offensive snaps, catching one pass for 10 yards…vs. Kansas City (Sept. 24): Started as the second TE, seeing action on 10 plays on offense and eight on special teams…vs. Philadelphia (Oct. 1): Started the 16th game of his career as the second TE and appeared on six offensive snaps and 11 on special teams…at New York Giants (Oct. 8): Started as the second TE, appearing on 20 offensive plays and nine on special teams...at Oakland (Oct. 15): Saw action on 25 offensive snaps and 11 on special teams…vs. Denver (Oct. 22): Opened the game as the second TE, playing on 23 offensive snaps and 12 on special teams…It marked the 40th game played of his career…at New England (Oct. 29): Registered five offensive snaps and 13 on special teams…at Jacksonville (Nov. 12): Appeared on 18 plays on offense and 18 on special teams…vs. Buffalo (Nov. 19): Registered a 10-yard reception, marking the 30th catch of his career…Appeared on 15 offensive plays and 16 on special teams…at Dallas (Nov. 23): Saw action on seven offensive plays and eight on special teams…vs. Cleveland (Dec. 3): Appeared on five offensive plays and 11 on special teams, posting a special teams tackle on punt coverage…vs. Washington (Dec. 10): Appeared on 17 snaps on offense and 13 on special teams…at Kansas City (Dec. 16): Started as the second TE, totaling 13 plays on offense and 12 on special teams…Posted a special teams tackle on punt coverage, pinning the Chiefs inside their 20 to start the ensuing drive…at New York Jets (Dec. 24): Started at TE for the 20th time in his career, playing 28 snaps on offense and 15 on special teams…Finished with two catches for 26 yards (13.0 avg.), including a 23-yard reception that set up the game-winning TD run by RB Melvin Gordon in the third quarter…Ran a flag-route to get behind S Jamal Adams, hauling in the 23-yard pass at the two-yard line…Added a special teams tackle on punt coverage…vs. Oakland (Dec. 31): Played 22 snaps on offense and 11 on special teams.
2016: Team Captain Nov. 27 at Houston.
2015: Inactive for Chargers’ Jan. 3 season finale at Denver.
2014: Spent year out of football.
2013: First two NFL catches Sept. 15 at Dallas...season-high five catches and 64 yards along with first NFL touchdown (five yards) for 7-0 lead in 31-7 win vs. N.Y. Giants...season-long 25-yard catch Oct. 6 at Tennessee...six-yard TD catch for 49-31 lead in 56-31 win at Oakland Dec. 15.
2012: NFL debut Dec. 23 vs. San Francisco...saw action in Wild Card win at Washington Jan. 6 and Divisional loss at Atlanta Jan. 13.
COLLEGE: First-team All-Gulf South Conference and first-team Daktronics All-Region as junior...played two seasons (2010-11) at Henderson State in Arkadelphia, Ark., catching 61 passes for 717 yards and four touchdowns...played three seasons (2006-08) at Eastern Illinois, catching 28 passes for 301 yards and three TDs...redshirted in 2009...studio art degree.
PERSONAL: Born in Mundelein, Ill. ...All-East Suburban Catholic and all-area at Carmel Catholic High in Mundelein...played on 2003 IHSA 6A state title team that went 13-0...honorable mention all-area in basketball...member National Honor Society.