GREEN BAY, Wis (WFRV) – As the off-season began, free-agent wide receiver Sammy Watkins was sitting at home on his couch with a pit in his stomach. After yet again an injury-riddled season in 2021, the doubt began to creep into the veteran’s mind. What if this was it?
“Injury after injury, you kind of get worried. What is my destiny? What team is going to pick me up?,” Watkins candidly said in the Packers locker room after practice. “To get this opportunity, it’s a blessing for me.”
Watkins hasn’t had a 1,000-yard receiving season since 2015 with the Buffalo Bills and his last fully healthy season was in 2017 when he was with the Los Angeles Rams and Matt LaFleur. Despite all the road blocks, the hunger is still there.
“Definitely have something to prove. With really just staying healthy. Being consistent and staying on the field,” Watkins said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. I can go out there and do all the great things all these other wideouts can do, its just really being available and I’m praying to God that I stay and have a healthy season.”
Before a down of football is even played, the veteran wideout has the confidence of his quarterback, Aaron Rodgers and his coach, Matt LaFleur.
“I don’t think his game has fallen off at all, since we were together in 2017,” LaFleur said. “I think a little bit of it is 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.”
When you have to face the mortality of your own career, that’s a daunting task. Watkins is ready for a revival and to prove he’s the player he was projected to be.
“Just do whatever in my might and power to stay on the field, because when I’m on the field, I can ball, I can catch balls, I can score, and I’m a dominant player but the key is staying on the field,” Watkins said quietly.
LaFleur echoed that confidence.
“He’s a true pro. I think we’re going to get a great version of Sammy Watkins.”