Current New Orleans Saints tight end Ben Watson is officially in the last year of his great NFL journey. The 15-year NFL veteran announced with NFL Films that he will hang up his cleats for good at the conclusion of the 2018 NFL season. Along with the Saints, Watson also played for the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Ravens.
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
Despite being 38 years old, Watson is still managing to contribute to one of the best offenses in football. So far on the season, Watson has 33 receptions for 371 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 15 games. His work as a blocker is also helping Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram lead the 10th-ranked rushing offense in football.
Watson initially joined the league as the New England Patriots first-round draft pick back in 2004. While he didn’t see much playing time in his rookie campaign, he managed to earn a Super Bowl ring during his first year in the league. Watson spent six years in New England, recording 167 receptions for 2,102 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Watson departed the Patriots after the 2009 season and latched on with the Cleveland Browns. During his first year in Cleveland, Watson recorded a then-career-high 68 receptions for 763 yards and three touchdowns. Watson remained in Cleveland for two additional seasons before joining the New Orleans Saints in 2013.
The former first-rounder spent three years in New Orleans before heading off to the Baltimore Ravens. While a preseason ACL injury cost him the 2016 season, he bounced back in 2017. Watson recorded 61 receptions for 522 yards and four touchdowns during his lone healthy campaign in Baltimore. Entering free agency again, Watson returned to the Saints for the 2018 season.
Despite being a tight end, his career highlight likely came on a tackle. Back in the 2005 Divisional Round, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw an interception to Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. Bailey took the ball out of the Broncos end zone and looked to have an easy path to the end zone. Watson, however, chased Bailey the entire length of the field and tackled him at the one-yard line, knocking the ball loose. Even though the Patriots lost that game, the play has gone down as one of the best effort plays in league history.
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