Dekoda Watson loves being back in Denver.
Joining 1st & 10 @ 10 this morning, Watson told the crew he had been out with his wife in Napa Valley for their anniversary when he got the call from John Lynch.
He saw his GM’s phone number and thought, “oh boy, this can’t be good.” So he hung up. Lynch called back, and Watson hung up again.
Finally Lynch texted and Watson called back to find out he was going to be traded. Once again, Watson’s first reaction was that it wasn’t going to end well for him.
Then Lynch told him they had traded him back to Denver, a team he played with for one season in 2016.
“And when he said ‘Denver,’ I said, ‘Well how about that,’” Watson said laughing. “I’m just glad to be back. It was perfect. I love the Broncos.”
Heading into his 10th year in the league, the linebacker mainly played special teams for the Broncos as well as some outside linebacker where he had one forced fumble, one sack and six tackles.
Perhaps not much to brag about, but the veteran journeyman isn’t trying to get stats. He’s trying to do anything to keep playing another year in the NFL.
“I’m willing to do anything - defense, special teams, whatever it is, whatever needs to be done, just wanting to put my best foot forward and just get some wins and be able to contribute,” he said. “I just want to do as much as I can to play as long as I can in the league.”
And he loves getting to do that in the Mile High City.
“I love this city,” Watson said, adding that as a “country boy,” he loves seeing the mountains every day. “I love the fans. This is one of the most exciting stadiums I’ve been in.”
And although the team is quite a bit different than when he was here three years ago, Watson is happy to see many of his old teammates in the locker room - but also the familiar faces around Dove Valley.
“Of course I love the camaraderie here, not only with my teammates but with everybody in the organization - the cooks, the janitors, security guards, training staff, equipment staff. Everybody,” he said. “I felt at home, felt respected...I’m happy to come back.”
John Elway’s trade for Watson in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick during the draft weekend was perplexing to many, but Watson’s veteran leadership and special teams prowess is a big hint why the Broncos got him back.
“We’re excited about having Dekoda back,” Elway said after the draft, noting that Watson led in special teams tackles and could help in the outside pass rush. “We just thought it was an opportunity to bring him back so we took advantage of that.”
Watson had also become a team captain mid-season during his time on the team, so his potential to help a young linebacker corps as well as special teamers is a no-brainer.
Watson is just fine with that role.
“It’s about what can I do now...showing young guys that a lot of your opportunities can come from being a great special teams player,” Watson added. “And that can carry you for a long, long time.”
Although Watson is just getting to know Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell, he likes what he sees and the emphasis on fundamentals and details. Watson also likes getting to work under special teams coordinator Tom McMahon who coached some of his friends at the Colts.
“They thought very highly him,” Watson said. “He’s very very passionate about the game and that’s something I just love.”