BOSTON (CBS) — Ben Watson doesn’t hold any ill will against the Patriots for releasing him earlier this week. But the move certainly stung the veteran tight end.
Watson joined WEEI’s Orway, Merloni and Fauria on Wednesday, making his first comments since the Patriots released him on Monday. He said he isn’t bitter about the team’s decision, but it was a difficult situation for him because he relocated his family to New England during the offseason.
“No I wouldn’t categorize it as bitterness. Definitely disappointed and sad about the situation,” Watson said Wednesday. “It’s different when it’s just you, but when you’re a father, a husband and making decisions with your family, there is more to consider and it adds to it. It’s one thing for me to deal with being released, but telling my kids and then having them go to school and deal with it, all of that goes into it.
“I understand the business side of it. I wish I had earned a roster spot, but obviously, I didn’t do enough,” he added. “I do know when it comes to football, it’s a team sport and it’s about momentum and camaraderie. Coaches make decisions on what they think is the best grouping of players for their roster.”
Watson did not play on Sunday, his first week eligible after serving a four-game PED suspension to start the season. The Patriots had until Monday afternoon to activate Watson or release him, and he knew something was up as Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline approached. Despite the disappointment, he was happy that both Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio were the ones to break the news to him.
“I do think the fact that both of them came into the room and both spoke to me, I appreciated that. I appreciate they didn’t send someone to tell me and I didn’t have to find out on Twitter,” said Watson. “We had a conversation about the release, but also about the past 15 years of football in general and other things.”
The Patriots saved roughly $2 million toward the salary cap by parting ways with Watson, who said the team never approached him to restructure his deal. Belichick left the door open for another Watson reunion this season, and Watson said Wednesday that he still has a desire to play football.
But at the moment, his focus is not on what could happen in the future. He has seven children, and he and his wife decided to move the whole family up to New England when he signed with the team in the offseason. Watson said they plan to remain in the area for the rest of the year.
“Honestly, I’m not in a place where I’m thinking about that right now. I’m thinking what just happened and processing that,” he said. “Thinking about what are our options going forward and what I’m going to do. No decisions yet about playing or not playing. Really just dealing with what just happened, not what may or may not happen in the future.
“The bottom of rosters are very fluid, injuries happen and there are different needs at different times,” he added. “I don’t know how that’s all going to play out. Any organization never totally moves on from a player, because you may have a need.”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was pretty bummed when discussing Watson’s release earlier this week, and spoke glowingly of the veteran. Watson certainly appreciated the love from his longtime friend.
“I did hear that. I texted him afterwards thanking him. I love that guy,” he said. “Seriously. You hear that a lot in football, but I really do love him. Part of the reason for coming here was to play with him again.”