Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who added a Super Bowl title to his resume this past season, has come along way since battling his demons during his time with the Buffalo Bills.
Watkins was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and was taken ahead of players like Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr, so he had a lot to live up to as a member of a franchise starving for a playmaker.
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With that said, Watkins’ tenure in Buffalo ended before the 2017 season. In a feature story posted to Bleacher Report, Watkins talked about his struggles with the Bills, which included battles with alcohol and depression.
“I would go out and get wasted,” Watkins told the website. “Wasted wasted.”
Even though he was partying every night, Watkins still managed to put up solid numbers as a rookie. He broke the Bills’ rookie record with 65 receptions and 982 receiving yards to go with six touchdown receptions. The following season, he posted career-highs in yards with 1,047 receiving yards, and touchdowns, as he found the endzone nine times. However, in his final season with the Bills, injuries limited Watkins to just eight games, and they decided to trade him to the Los Angeles Rams before the 2017 began.
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Watkins admitted that he even considered retirement when he broke a bone in his foot during his third season with Buffalo.
“Literally, just questioning everything in my life: ‘Am I supposed to be doing this? Is this my purpose? Is this a sign for me to quit football?’” Watkins said. “This is what God’s telling me. I felt like he was telling me to stop. Just stop.
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“I don’t think the world knows what athletes go through off the field,” Watkins added. “We have family. We have lives. You have good and bad in your family. I’m like f–king Jesus in my family. I was putting family before football. I wasn’t focused on football. I was like: ‘F–k football. I have to figure out how I’m going to put my family in a position to be successful or not to get killed or not to get in a situation where they can go to jail.
“I was fighting a war outside of football.”