GREEN BAY, Wis. –Large receiver He was honest about the eight first years of his NFL career.
In Year 2, the former first-round selection has one 1,000-yard receiving year.. He’s played for the , And Since April, he had signed a prove it deal with the Packers.
“My career hasn’t been what I projected it to be,” Watkins said Wednesday, during the Packers’ mandatory minicamp.
A quarterback's self-awareness can make a big difference.He loves a good reclamation story as any other person.
“You get guys who have a lot to play for,” Rodgers said, “and I think Sammy has the opportunity to continue and travel down a new path in his career that we can help him with here.”
Sammy Watkins gives a candid assessment of his career, and what he hopes to do in Green Bay.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) June 8, 2022
Watkins, the Packers' All-Pro receiver trades veteran, was Watkins.The In March. Other proven veterans were And . Brian Gutekunst, the general manager, added to this with three draft picks. (second round), Fourth) (seventh).
Watkins gave us a glimpse into what made him fourth overall in the 2014 draft. He caught a pass that was sharply thrown with two defensive backs right in front of him. It’s the type of contested catch over the middle that earns Rodgers’ respect.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to come here, play hard, catch a ton of balls, compete at the highest level and win games and fight to stay healthy,” Watkins said. “That’s been the knock on my career – to stay on the field.”
It’s been one injury-filled season after another for Watkins, who’s dealt with a variety of mostly minor – but nagging – setbacks. In 2016, he was hospitalized with a broken foot and missed eight games. It turned out to have been his final year in Buffalo. He’s never played in more than 14 games in any of his seasons with the Bills, Rams (2017), Chiefs (2018-20) or Ravens (2021), due to myriad injuries, including to an ankle, foot, hamstring, calf and thigh.
He said after last season, when he didn’t catch a pass after Week 12, he legitimately thought he might be done in the NFL.
“Last year I got hurt again, [and] I’m thinking, I’m sitting on the couch like, ‘I’m going to be out of a job,’” Watkins said. “After injury after injury, you kinda get worried. What is my destiny?” What team is going to pick me up?”
The Packers guaranteed him $350,000 – the entirety of his signing bonus – as part of a one-year, $1.85 million contract. The signing bonus money would be lost by the Packers if he was cut from training camp.
But listening to coach Matt LaFleur this week, that doesn’t sound like something they’re worried about.
“I don't think his game has fallen off at all since we were together in 2017,” said LaFleur, who was the Rams offensive coordinator when Watkins was in Los Angeles. “A little bit has been maybe a lack of opportunity, but I think he’s a guy that’s out there working hard, and he’s going to be a big part of our offense.”
Watkins said he’s been more mindful of injury prevention techniques – stretching and cold tubs among them – and needs to play at between 210 and 215 pounds. He said this offseason he allowed himself to get what he called “fat” at 220 pounds while wallowing in the possibility his career was over, but he said he's back at a leaner 215.
Cobb didn’t know Watkins before he signed with the Packers, but he’s happy to have another veteran in the receiver room. Cobb is aware that there will be many opportunities for them all, chances that were previously lost to Adams.
“It’s an offense similar to what he ran when he was in L.A., so I think he knows there’s a special opportunity here,” Cobb said.
“Obviously [Adams] is an incredible player, and he deserves everything that’s come his way, but there’s going to be targets that are out there. If you watch the film, you go around and ask the league, there’s plenty of other guys that were open when [Adams] was getting the ball.”