Just before the New Year, NFL star Benjamin Watson announced that he is retiring at the end of the season.
In a video shared by NFL films, the New Orleans Saints tight end announced his plans to retire, primarily to spend time with his growing family.
Watson, who has played in the NFL for 15 years on teams like the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, already has five kids, with two on the way.
The video opens with a scene of all the Watsons on a couch in their home. The kids are smiling, making silly faces and goofing off. Watson and his wife, Kirsten, joke about how they could never be on a reality TV show because each child would want to be the star.
Toward the end of the video, Watson makes his retiring announcement.
“It’s time. It’s time to be done,” Watson announces. “I am going to finish strong.”
In the video, Watson credits his former New England Patriots teammate Tedy Bruschi for teaching him the importance of being a father first.
“We have so much of our identity wrapped up in football, as it should be, that if it is not going well, sometimes, I am in the dumps or I feel like my self-worth took a dip. One thing somebody told me, a guy named Tedy Bruschi: ‘When you come home, you got to be dad,” Watson says. “Whatever happened at work, to the best of your ability, you gotta leave it at work.’”
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
There was much speculation, including from his own wife, when Watson decided the 2018-2019 season would be his last on the field.
In 2016, after tearing his achilles tendon in his first preseason game in Baltimore, he contemplated retiring for the first time. Since he was confined to the bench and could not play, the tight end wrote a book. “The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up for the Biggest Game of Your Life” is for expectant fathers. It encourages dads to step up to the plate, and be the best version of themselves for their children.
After recovering from his achilles tear, Watson went back to play the 2017-2018 season with the Baltimore Ravens. After finishing the season, Watson became a free agent again, and once again contemplated retirement. Instead, however, the New Orleans Saints called him up, and he went back to play another season.
Watson has had a good season, his most notable achievement possibly being that he caught Drew Brees’ 500th career passing touchdown.
“I wouldn’t want anybody else in this world to catch that ball,” Brees told Watson after completing the 500th pass.
The NFL Films video ends with Kirsten playfully taking a nerf football to the face (from one of the children), Watson leaning over to kiss her, bringing a smile to her face, embodying the loving nature of the family.
Watson will not only leave the NFL as an influential player but also as someone who has used every opportunity possible to showcase his relationship with God. He has been extremely vocal about his faith in God and his pro-life values. He has spoken at March for Life events, as well as Evangelicals for Life, defending the right to life on a nation-wide stage.
The faithful, family-loving tight end will leave an impact when he walks off the field for the last time.
On December 30, the New Orlean Saints shared a heartwarming video of Watson walking off the field with his son, which Watson replied, “Next stop: playoffs.”
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 30, 2018
(H/T: The Christian Post)