Benjamin Watson unretires to join New England Patriots for 16th season

Benjamin Watson’s retirement lasted just over four months. After announcing in December that his 15th NFL season would be his last, Watson met with the New England Patriots on Thursday and reportedly is coming back for a 16th year, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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A lot has happened since Watson’s retirement announcement. His New Orleans Saints advanced to the NFC Championship Game, which Watson had to miss due to appendicitis. He might have been available for the Super Bowl, which the Saints were denied from due to a controversial pass interference call.

Then in April, the Watsons added twins to their family, which already included five children.

And in between, All-Pro Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski called it quits. That left the defending Super Bowl champions with a hole at tight end — one Watson will attempt to fill. After entering the NFL as a first-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2004, the 38-year-old Watson looks to go out with the Patriots as well. Watson won a title with New England in 2004, but he was on IR that year and didn’t play in the game.

For his career, he owns 530 receptions, 5,885 yards and 44 touchdowns. With New Orleans in 2018, Watson caught 35 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns.

He considered retirement prior to last 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 played six seasons in New England (2004-09) and also three in Cleveland (2010-12).

Everywhere Watson has 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. “… 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.

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