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Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints

by carmine on July 31, 2013



 

 

By: John van Vliet
Spotlight Athlete Archive

New Orleans Saints’ tight end Benjamin Watson is one of the most highly respected players in the National Football League. His knowledge of the game of football and the tight end position is greatly appreciated by younger players, coaches and quarterbacks.

Within just a few practices into the Saints’ 2013 training camp, Jimmy Graham, the fifth year Saints tight end and rising NFL star, said recently he is trying to emulate Watson’s work ethic.

“Just seeing him in the weight room and me following after him and just trying to be like him is something I try to do,” Graham said in an interview for neworleanssaints.com.

Watson, entering his 10th NFL season, signed with the Saints earlier this year. This will be his third team he has played for in his career, first starting with the New England Patriots then the Cleveland Browns.

Every team he has been with, Watson has made a positive impact, both on the organization and on its players. Young stars like Graham tell of the leadership and difference Watson brings.

But Watson does this kind of work away from the football facilities as well. His faith and belief in Jesus Christ was rooted in him at an early age.

Watson recalled, “I was about five or six years old when my father (Ken) sat me down one night and asked me if I were to die in my sleep, would I know what would happen, where I would be? I had been going to church, I knew about Heaven and Hell and knew that Jesus was the way. But I didn’t know it for myself at that point.”

His father then read to him John 3:16, the two prayed and Watson accepted Jesus to be his Lord and saviour. He carried his faith with him to his college career at the University of Georgia, attending Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings and chapels throughout. He met his future wife, Kirsten, at Georgia.

The strength of his faith, as it has grown over the years, is evident in the way he lives. Throughout his career at Georgia and going into his NFL career, Watson has been heavily involved in various ministries. He balances his successful NFL career with managing his public charity mission called One More with his wife.

“One thing that I remembered early on was just going to church does not make you a Christian,” Watson said, “it means you just go to church. Being a true Christian will come out when it is who you are.”

When asked what being unashamed for Christ means to him, Watson quoted Romans 1:16, the theme verse for Unashamed Athletes, straight away.

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believesRomans 1:16

“We live in a culture that is going opposite of what God stands for; (being a Christian) is becoming increasingly unpopular,” Watson said. “That means we are going to have to dig our roots deep in Him because we live in times where we can easily be swayed. So when you are unashamed, you are not afraid to know Him or talk about Him even when you know when it is unpopular.”

There will be times when we will mess up and fall off the path God has for us. There can be some pressure or even stress in always trying to do right by God. Watson said not to be discouraged when we slip up.

“We are all hypocrites at some point,” he said. He went on say if we continually strive to be with God and live for Him, people will notice something different and something special about you, even if you make mistakes now and then.

Watson also quoted Psalms 46:10 as an encouragement verse for us to live unashamedly for God.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10

In 2008, Watson established his charity mission One More. The focus of One More is to facilitate to the needs of the people in different communities, be it food, education or enrichment activities.

“Our mission is to spread of the love of Christ to one more person,” Watson explained. “We do that by meeting people’s needs. We want to provide direction in people’s lives so that they can go and show the love of Christ to another person, and another and so on.”

One Mission primarily operates in the communities surrounding New England, Rock Hill, SC (Watson hometown) and Athens, GA. With his signing to the New Orleans Saints, Watson is excited to help the people in New Orleans, where needs are still aplenty for many.

“That’s where you really get the satisfaction of when you meet someone’s needs and that person comes back the next year wanting to volunteer. It’s about leaving a legacy. We are in a position as athletes that we can leave a mark on our sport and on the world. We want to show that, as athletes, we don’t care only about our sport but we care about the people in our community.”

If you would like to make a donation or look to volunteer, go to watsononemore.org for more information.

“Our call is to be a light in the community wherever we are. It is exciting times to discover where God leads us.”

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