The Packers hold a special place in the hearts of wide receiver Christian Watson and his dad, Tim
GREEN BAY - It has been 29 years since Tim Watson heard his name called by the Green Bay Packers. The sixth-round draft pick in 1993 never got to suit up in the green and gold, but did go on to play for three teams (the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles) for five years as a defensive back. And he hasn’t forgotten who first gave him a shot in the league.
“That was a big accomplishment for him. So I mean, it's his roots,” said Christian Watson, his son, on Friday night. “So I mean, he definitely holds on to it. And shoot, I mean, I'm sure he's got a lot of green and yellow around the house to throw on when he gets home.”
Watson may owe his first dalliance with the green and gold to his brief time with the Packers, but his son Christian made it the family colors, going on to become a dynamic wide receiver with the FCS champion North Dakota State Bison. Then, 29 years after the Packers brought his dad into the league, the Packers did the same for Christian, drafting the young receiver in the second round, at No. 34 overall.
“It means the world to me,” said Watson, speaking with Green Bay media Friday night. “This is something that I've dreamed of since I was a little kid. Being able to play at the highest level possible is the goal that I set for myself really early.”
Watson wanted to find his way into the NFL no matter what. But being able to mirror his father’s path in a way has made this entire experience particularly memorable.
“Obviously being able to follow his footsteps and be drafted by the same club is extra special to me for sure," he said. "I mean, it's definitely, you know, a surreal experience. Just getting the phone call, getting the phone call itself brought tears in my eyes, I was so excited. And I'm just excited and ready to get to work.”
Luckily for Watson, his dad and entire family have spent their lives preparing Christian for the work that is to come. Long before NDSU was molding this young pass catcher into a projected second-rounder (he finished No. 4 in NDSU history averaging 20.38 yards per reception and 26.38 yards per kickoff return, as well as ranking eighth in school history with 2,140 receiving yards and 10th with 105 receptions), the Watson family had their children in the backyard with a football always in hand.
“Throughout my entire childhood, obviously growing up around a football family, we’re just a family full of competitors. So, I mean, I've been competing since such a young age, I love competition. And I always push myself to be as dominant as a competitor as possible,” said Watson.
“So I mean, it's just been a lifelong thing. I mean, football has just been something that's been drilled into me, and it's something I've been very passionate about, and I’ve loved for a long time.”
As a young player, Watson lined up on both offense and defense. As he evolved so did his game and eventually he “wanted the rock” in his hands, as he says. That meant finding a way onto the field as an offensive weapon. It also meant the backyard became a classroom as well. With Tim’s background as a NFL safety, he put Christian and his siblings through the ringer.
“He definitely did,” said Watson. “My dad, my brother, shoot even my mom and my sister, we live to play football.”
Tim may have more NFL experience under his belt than his son, but Christian isn’t so humble he will give his pops too much credit. Asked who the best football player is in his family, Watson laughed and answered proudly, “I gotta say me. I gotta say me.”
The Packers are banking on that confidence, that training and that history to transfer to Lambeau Field this fall.