Rock Hill's Benjamin Watson will play a 15th season in the NFL after signing with his former team, the New Orleans Saints, on March 28, 2018.
The former Northwestern Trojan played in New Orleans from 2013 to 2015. The last of the three years was the best of Watson's career as he filled in the void left when star tight end Jimmy Graham left for the Seahawks.
Watson was also reportedly considering the Kansas City Chiefs. He signed a one-year deal with the Saints instead. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the transaction.
Watson was a 2017 finalist for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award, won by J.J. Watt. Watson was also a finalist in 2015 and is widely respected around the league.
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On the field, he continues to produce.
Watson has started 28 games combined his last two seasons, including 16 during the 2015 campaign with New Orleans. Watson caught a career-high 74 passes that season and teamed well with Saints QB Drew Brees.
Watson was drafted in 2004 out of Georgia by the New England Patriots. He played six seasons with the Patriots, then joined the Cleveland Browns for three years. In 2013 it was off to New Orleans for three years, before signing with Baltimore in 2016. Watson blew his Achilles tendon that season and missed the entire year but bounced back to catch 61 passes in 2017.
Watson is one of 29 players that played in the NFL in 2004 and are still active, and it's an elite group. Tom Brady, Julius Peppers, Ben Roethliseberger, Philip Rivers, Dwight Freeney, Eli Manning and Antonio Gates are all Watson peers still going strong.
Watson has 495 catches in his NFL career, including 42 touchdowns.