Saints TE Benjamin Watson announces retirement after this season

Saints TE Benjamin Watson announces retirement after this season

Benjamin Watson is ready to call it a career.

In an NFL Films video on Thursday that featured Watson, his wife and five children, the Saints tight end revealed he intends to retire at the end of this season.

“It’s time. It’s time to be done. I’m going to finish strong,” Watson said.

Watson, 38, was selected out of Georgia by the Patriots in the first round of the 2004 draft. He went on to play for the Browns and Ravens in addition to having two stints with the Saints.

“I knew coming into this year that it probably would be the last year. And I think our approach was as a family that we were fortunate to come and play for another year, but you kind of know,” Watson said. “It’s been great to be a part of this team and have this sort of winning at this point of my career. But the injuries add up, the body struggles more and more. And it becomes evident that it’s time.

“It’s always a very hard thing, but my mentality this year has definitely been to perform to the best of my ability and fight through different things.”

Watson suffered a torn Achilles with the Ravens in 2016, but has since made a full recovery. He’s played in every game for New Orleans this season, logging 33 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns.

In total, he has 528 catches for 5,856 yards and 44 touchdowns over his 15-year career.

“I want my legacy to be somebody who loved his wife and somebody who loved his kids and tried to lead his family, and encouraged other guys that they have what it takes to be the men that they’re called to be. … And I want to be somebody that was reliable, that a coach could count on,” Watson said. “A guy that when you put him out there, he did his job, whether it was with flash or without flash, he could be reliable and dependable on the field.”

Watson will look to win his second career Super Bowl this season after winning Super Bowl 39 with the Patriots in 2005.

The Saints (13-2), who have already clinched the NFC South title and home-field advantage, will close out the regular season against the Panthers (6-9) at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.