Ben Watson: I’m old, so I’m a team leader

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Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson has just arrived in New England, meaning most of his teammates don’t know him yet. But he already sees himself as a leader for a simple reason: He’s old.

At age 38, and with the 41-year-old Tom Brady not participating in Organized Team Activities, Watson is the oldest player in the Patriots’ offseason program, and he takes that responsibility seriously.

“I think I have a leadership role, period, in our locker room because I’m 38 years old. That’s just what comes when you’re an older player,” Watson said. “Now, what happens in the locker room and what happens on the field are two totally different things. On the field, this is the ultimate meritocracy. It’s about learning what to do, being consistent making plays, all the things I learned as a rookie. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done somewhere else, what you did last year or throughout your career. It’s all about how you perform every day in practice. . . . I do consider myself a leader from a life standpoint, talking to the younger guys, but as far as production on the field, that’s something that’s earned.”

Even before he was among the oldest players in the league, Watson was among the most respected. That’s true both for on-field reasons (like his tremendous hustle in running down Champ Bailey in a playoff game 13 years ago) and for off-field reasons (he’s been a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award). Age is one factor, but not the only reason Watson is a leader in New England.

16 responses to “Ben Watson: I’m old, so I’m a team leader

  1. Great person, great player, and very well-respected.
    Would love to see him get into coaching after he wins a SuperBowl with the Pats this year.

  2. Watson was a little disappointing as a 1rst round pick, but is super smart and a great athlete. I have no dought he can be a decent contributer, even at 38.

  3. Ben Watson is a “Class Act! Personified!” he gives everything he can offer and then some.
    He is a guy that “Gronk” emulated.

  4. Drawing a distinction between off field and on field activity and merit sets up the “Team First” mentality nicely. They’re gellin’ already…

  5. I’m old, and I’m new to the team, and I don’t want to come off as entitled so I’ll lay low and keep my mouth shut.
    I’m also probably not as good as I was, so I won’t make waves.

  6. Did he really say “meritocracy”? I had to look that up. Mr. Watson is going to be a welcome addition to the New England locker room.

  7. Class ACT just does his job, theePatriot’s mantra, be quiet, be a leader, be ready to go and be there for thee GOAT in the red zone! Thank you.

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