Ankle Injury Catapults Watson From Soccer To The NFL

By Michael Spencer

Broncos offensive lineman Menelik Watson joined CBS4 Sports Anchor Michael Spencer at the ViewHouse Centennial on Monday for Xfinity Monday Live.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Menelik Watson, who is entering his fourth season in the NFL, joined the Broncos in free agency after spending three seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

One of the primary reasons the Broncos acquired Watson as well as right guard Ronald Leary was to help improve the offense line. The Broncos were 27th out of 32 teams in the NFL in rushing yards and 9th in sacks allowed in 2016.

“Coming here now being one of the older guys on the line, it’s great responsibility, but it’s something I look forward to,” said Watson.

“First things first, we got to change the mindset. When we go out there we need to be the most feared group on the field.”

Watson is entering his fourth season in the NFL, but it is just his sixth season of playing American football. As a kid growing up in England he played soccer until an ankle injury derailed his plans on the pitch.

He then turned to basketball and played at a basketball academy in the Canary Islands before receiving a basketball scholarship to Marist (NY). After two years at Marist he transferred to Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California and began playing football.

After a year in the JUCO ranks, he transferred to Florida State.

“I had a plan. I had a goal in mind which was just to put myself in a situation where I could take care of my family,” said Watson. “That was the first and foremost thing.”

What Watson lacked in repetition and fundamentals he more than made up for with athleticism and dedication.

“My film study was probably the biggest thing that helped me get over the hump. When I got on the field, I just wanted to dominate everybody. It was an opportunity to express myself.”

A year later, with just 16 games of football to his credit, Watson entered the 2013 NFL Draft and was selected with the 42nd overall pick.

Watson has battled injuries throughout his career, but is hoping for a fresh start in Denver.

“Coming here to Denver, it’s the best place. They have a great staff with (Broncos strength and conditioning coach) Luke Richesson, and the guys there. A great nutrition program, so being able to take my game to a whole another level is what I’m really excited about.”

Watson and the Broncos begin training camp on Thursday, July 27.

Michael Spencer is a Sports Anchor at CBS4. Read his bio or connect with him on Twitter @MichaelCBS4.

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