BULLDOGS IN THE NFL
NEW ORLEANS — The remarkable football career of Georgia graduate Benjamin Watson is coming to an end. His remarkable life will continue to flourish, we feel sure.
Watson, a 2004 UGA graduate and letterman and a 15-year NFL veteran currently with the New Orleans Saints, has finally decided he will call it quits following the 2018 season. The ultimate family man made the announcement quite appropriately for him — via an NFL films video that featured his wife, Kirsten, and his five kids.
“It’s time. It’s time to be done,” Watson says near the end of the video. “I’m going to finish strong.”
After 15 years of football, @BenjaminSWatson is ready to hang up his jersey and fully enjoy his #1 job as a father of five, as he awaits his two newest additions. #NFLFilmsPresents: Ben Watson@Saints pic.twitter.com/pXnYlXL7hB
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) December 27, 2018
Plus, the Watson team is expected to grow by two in early May. With twins due then, Watson simply couldn’t justify being away as much as the NFL life requires.
“It’s going to be a crazy house with the five that we already have,” Watson told NOLA.com. “There’s going to be probably a move there. But to be able to be home and focus solely on that, it’s going to be good for all of us, definitely.”
Playing as long as he has is a master accomplishment in and of itself. That Watson continues to be a major offensive weapon for a Super Bowl contender makes it that much more remarkable.
Watson has caught 33 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns this season for the Saints, who captured the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. He had a 6-yard reception this past weekend in a 31-28 win over the Steelers. After one of his touchdowns this season, Watson celebrated by holding up seven fingers and putting the ball on his belly underneath his jersey. It was his way of announcing that twins were on the way.
Watson is one of only seven tight ends in NFL history to play for 15 years. His 528 career catches ranks 14th all-time among NFL tight ends. Drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots, Watson also has played for the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. He currently has 5,856 career receiving yards and 44 touchdowns.
Watson also has authored two books — including an in-depth look at race relations in 2015 called Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race — and has twice been a finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He has been an community activist and often speaks to groups about ending social injustices.
While his growing family remains his priority, other opportunities surely will come his way. Many have envisioned public service for the tight end.
“You don’t know which doors are going to open or what is going to close,” Watson told NOLA.com. “I would have never thought that I would be here. God saw fit for me to play another year and to be a part of this community, this city and this team. I’m excited for what’s going to happen, but I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be.”
Other performances by UGA alums last week:
Patriots 24, Bills 12
- Sony Michel: Michel had 18 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown and an 11-yard kickoff return as the Patriots clinched their 10th straight AFC East title. Michel is 14th overall and fourth among rookies with 881 yards rushing, 19th overall and fourth among rookies with six rushing touchdowns, sixth among rookies with six total touchdowns, and 10th among rookies with 36 points.
- David Andrews: Andrews started at center and helped New England roll up 390 total yards.
- Isaiah McKenzie: McKenzie had two punt returns for 12 yards and an 8-yard catch for Buffalo.
Browns 26, Bengals 18
- Nick Chubb: Chubb had 19 carries for 112 yards and caught two passes for three yards for the Browns. Chubb’s 972 rushing yards this season are the most ever by a Browns rookie, eclipsing Trent Richardson (950 yards in 2012) and Jim Brown (942 in the 12-game 1957 schedule). Chubb stands ninth overall and second among rookies in rushing yards, eighth overall and third among rookies with eight rushing touchdowns, 15th overall and second among rookies with 10 total tackles, and sixth among rookies with 60 points.
- Geno Atkins: Atkins posted two tackles for the Bengals. He is 17th in the NFL with 10 sacks. Atkins was named to his seventh career Pro Bowl last week, making him the most recognized defensive player in Bengals history.
- Shawn Williams: Williams had six tackles for Cincinnati. Williams stands sixth in the NFL with four interceptions.
- Cordy Glenn and Clint Boling: Glenn and Boling started at left tackle and left guard, respectively, helping the Bengals pick up 209 total yards.
Titans 25, Redskins 16
- Ben Jones: Jones started at center and helped the Titans accumulate 291 total yards.
Bears 14, 49ers 9
- Roquan Smith: Smith led the Bears with nine tackles, including a sack among his two for loss. Smith is 13th overall and third among rookies with 116 tackles and is fourth among rookies with five sacks.
- Leonard Floyd: Floyd had a tackle and two quarterback hits for Chicago.
- Javon Wims: Wims was a healthy scratch for the Bears.
Rams 31, Cardinals 9
- Ramik Wilson: Wilson had three tackles for the Rams.
- Todd Gurley: Gurley was inactive for Los Angeles with a knee injury. Gurley leads the league with rushing touchdowns (17) and total touchdowns (21), stands second with 1,251 yards rushing, and is third with 132 points. Last week, he was chosen for his third Pro Bowl.
Colts 28, Giants 27
- Corey Moore: Moore logged 17 special teams plays for the Colts but did not have any stats.
- Lorenzo Carter: Carter had two quarterback hits for the Giants. Carter is 14th among rookies with three sacks.
- John Jenkins: Jenkins had five defensive plays for New York but did not have any stats.
- Alec Ogletree: Ogletree was inactive for the Giants due to a concussion. Ogletree is fifth in the league with five interceptions.
Jaguars 17, Dolphins 7
- Abry Jones: Jones had two tackles for Jacksonville.
- Reshad Jones: Jones picked up seven tackles, including one for loss, and a quarterback hit for the Dolphins.
- Maurice Smith: Smith returned from the practice squad to log 17 special teams plays with no stats.
Packers 44, Jets 38
- Jordan Jenkins: Jenkins had one tackle for New York. Jenkins is fifth in the NFL with two fumble recoveries.
Falcons 24, Panthers 10
- Thomas Davis: Davis had six tackles for Carolina. He is fifth in the NFL with two fumble recoveries.
Vikings 27, Lions 9
- Matthew Stafford: Stafford went 18-of-32 for 116 yards for the Lions. He is 15th in the NFL with 3,511 passing yards and 18th with 19 touchdown passes.
Seahawks 38, Chiefs 31
- Chris Conley: Conley caught three passes for 54 yards for the Chiefs.
- Justin Houston: Houston had three tackles, including a sack among his two for loss. He is fifth in the NFL with two fumble recoveries.
- Tyler Catalina (Redskins): Shoulder
- Orson Charles (Browns): Ankle
- A.J. Green (Bengals): Toe
- Isaiah Wynn (Patriots): Achilles tendon
- Davin Bellamy (Texans)
- Reggie Davis (Cowboys)
- Garrison Smith (Dolphins)