Ben Watson is beginning his second stint with the New Orleans Saints, so he is more than familiar with his iconic teammate, Drew Brees.
But Brees, who is entering his 18th NFL season, never ceases to amaze Watson, who is in his 15th year in the league.
‘I’ve seen this guy go onto a field by himself and go through his progressions with nobody on the field’
Despite having been Brees’ teammate from 2013 to 2015, before Watson left for two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, there are qualities the quarterback displays at which the tight end continues to marvel.
“The thing about Drew that I notice, after being around a lot of different players at the position but other positions as well, is he’s so meticulous,” Watson told Vic Carucci and Dan Leberfeld on Press Coverage. “I would call him almost a visionary, like he’s always envisioning what’s next. I’ve seen this guy go onto a field by himself and go through his progressions with nobody on the field. He’ll be on the field, taking the snaps, going through one, two, three, four, five, making his throws, with nobody on the field. I’ve seen him do it numerous times. And I think the first time I saw that, I realized this guy is different in that way.
‘Sometimes we talk about a youth-like enthusiasm about things, he has that when it comes to the game of football and hasn’t changed’
“He prepares very, very well. He leaves no stone unturned and he’s always thinking about what’s going to happen next. And he’s excited. Sometimes we talk about a youth-like enthusiasm about things, he has that when it comes to the game of football and hasn’t changed.”
Watson, 37, is also meticulous when it comes to his preparation. It is a large part of why he, too, has managed to stick around so long in the NFL.
‘The league has a very low average when it comes to your opportunities and you never know when that opportunity is going to be over’
“Of course, there’s always a sense of urgency,” he said. “The league has a very low average when it comes to your opportunities and you never know when that opportunity is going to be over. So it’s really incumbent upon all of us to take advantage of those opportunities. I’m at a point in my career where I know, for a fact, that I’m much closer to the end than the beginning. I would say that a lot of guys are in that same position. Across the league, guys are having this conversation, but you always want to take advantage of the opportunities and there’s no time like now to do those sorts of things.”
To what does Watson attribute his longevity?
‘You learn how to take care of your body in different ways’
“I would attribute it, No. 1, to the Lord just giving me just the opportunities to keep coming back,” he said. “I’ve had plenty of injuries, I’ve had plenty of surgeries. There have been times when I thought that I wouldn’t make it because of numbers or because I was coming off of an injury or things like that, and the Lord saw fit to give me another year. So I’m tremendously grateful for that. You learn so much along the way. You learn how to take care of your body in different ways, you learn about different methods, you understand that it’s a daily process. You have to whittle everything down to, ‘What can I get done today? How can I get better in every way this day and have that short-sighted mindset?’ And I have great support from my family — my wife, my kids, my parents. I talked to my dad the other day and he was like, ‘Man, I’ll be praying for you another year. You always keep me on my knees.’”
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