Spring 2021 Magazine

Saints TE Benjamin Watson to retire at end of season, hopefully after Super Bowl win

Benjamin Watson’s 15th season in the NFL will be his final season. The veteran New Orleans Saints tight end made the announcement Thursday in an NFL Films video:

With the 13-2 Saints owning the best record in the NFL entering the final week of the regular season, the season is far from over for Watson. He seeks his second Super Bowl title, after winning his first with New England in 2004. But he was a rookie on IR that year; in 2018, he’s third on the Saints in receptions (33) and fourth in receiving yards (371).

“You hope you get to exit on your own terms. You hope to exit with a great win,” Watson told ESPN.

For his career, the 38-year-old owns 528 receptions, 5,856 yards and 44 touchdowns.

Watson considered retirement prior to this season, but was convinced to keep playing after receiving an offer to return to the Saints, for whom he played from 2013-15 before a year in Baltimore. He also played six seasons in New England (2004-09) and three in Cleveland (2010-12). Everywhere he’s been, he’s strived to make a positive influence.

“It’s always been our desire to impact the community we’re in right now,” Watson told us over at The Increase. “It’s no different this year. If anything, there’s a sense of urgency because we know we probably will only be here a short time. However we can serve others and love on people, telling them about the Lord with a sense of urgency, we will. We might not have much time, but we still want to make a big impact.”

That he has throughout his career. Watson has been a two-time finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, an author of two books, and very outspoken on social issues and race — especially after a viral Facebook post of his on racial issues surrounding the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Mo.

Through it all, Watson has boldly proclaimed his faith in Jesus.

“God doesn’t call us to live out a faith in secret; we’re called to live out a public faith, letting people see that while we are imperfect, we are following our God with a heart fully devoted to Him,” Watson told The Increase earlier this year.

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