Most players come in to fall camp preparing for the first game of the season. Unfortunately for Dekoda Watson, he comes into fall camp preparing for the 4th game of the season.
Instead of using the extra weeks of preparation to focus only on getting himself ready, Watson is committed to making sure his teammates that will be playing from week one will be prepared and ready to go.
"I'm not going to be worried. I know we are going to make sure everyone is ready, Watson told NoleDigest, "I'm putting it on myself to make sure that the guys who have to step in my position make sure they know what they are doing. I don't want those young guys to go out there and not know what to do. I know that if the players who won't be playing keep helping the ones who will be playing, then everyone will do ok."
While Watson plans on helping teammates along during fall camp, he won't be able to help them out during those first three games on the field, or even from the sidelines as a vocal leader.
"We probably won't even be able to stand on the sidelines," Watson said, "That's going to hurt me the most. I feel like I need to be there for my team and it hurts so much that I won't be."
Even then, Watson is committed to supporting his teammates 100%. "I mean if I have to go buy a ticket and sit way up in the nose bleed section, you better believe that's what I'm going to do."
Watson and his fellow teammates serving three game suspensions will have to wait 21 days after opening kickoff before they can even step on to the playing field. While just being three weeks, Watson feels like that time will be an eternity. "It's going to feel like I'm preparing for a really long time."
"Chuck (Amato) made a comment saying that we're not guaranteed our jobs back come week 4. That just motivates me more. I know I'm going to have to work twice as hard to prove that the spot is mine when I'm ready to come back; and if one of the younger guys comes in and takes it for good, I can't be mad because I only have myself to blame. I'll be working extra hard to make sure I can help them out and also get myself ready to come back."
Watson says he will be one big ball of emotion once he can finally return to playing after waiting nearly two months from his first preseason practice to his first game. "You don't know how good you have it until you lose it, said Watson, "Come week 4 you guys are going to think I'm crazy. I'm just going to be loving it finally getting back out there and playing."
Although Dekoda knows he made a mistake that will hurt not only himself, but also his teammates, he believes this incident has helped keep him humble and give him a wake up call.
"I think sometimes the Lord has to bring you back down to earth. It's really an eye-opener. The Lord has to let you know, ‘you're not all that'; and I'll never take this for granted again. I promise you that."