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‘I Did a Lot of Praying’: NFL Vet Ben Watson Explains How He Decided Against Retirement

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Just months after NFL player Benjamin Watson announced his retirement from the NFL, he announced that he was coming out of retirement to join the New England Patriots for another season.


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Lindsay Elizabeth

Just months after NFL player Benjamin Watson announced his retirement from the NFL, he announced that he was coming out of retirement to join the New England Patriots for another season.

In the beginning of January, the New Orleans Saints tight end shared his plans to retire in a video shared by NFL films saying, “It’s time. It’s time to be done. I am going to finish strong.”

In a post to The Increase, Watson shared the prayerful journey that brought him to re-enter the NFL, after just a few months into retirement.

After retiring from the NFL, Watson began to explore two possible career options: broadcasting or player development.

“But as I pursued opportunities with these different career options, I began to sense the feeling of a lack of completion,” he wrote.

“I began to get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, the door to play was still open,” he added.

Months later, Watson’s twin boys were born, and he began to think deeper about playing for one last year.

“As my wife, Kirsten, and I started dialoguing about it, she had one condition: We had to communicate about it—something I didn’t do well the previous season,” Watson shared. “This would be a family decision.”

“My prayer through the whole process was, ‘Lord, give me confirmation with whatever the next role is for me,’” Watson shared.

The NFL tight-end shared that as he prayed for direction and clarity over his next move, he did not see it in a career off the field.

“That’s when I started thinking about football again,” he shared. “My prayers then became more specific.”

Watson shared that he asked God to place him with a team that he had played with before, and had people they knew. He prayed for specific locations, and salary as well.

“My prayers were specific so I knew that if God provided exactly what I was asking for, He was giving me confirmation of His plans,” Watson wrote.

Ultimately God answered Watson’s prayers and gave him the confirmation he was looking for, which gave him “confidence in the midst of a very cloudy time.”

“It was then that I was able to say, ‘Lord, I asked for this and You did just that. Now I can walk in boldness and with strength even when I’m a little nervous for what’s to come. Because You provided specifically what I had asked for, I know You are going before me in this.’”

Through his journey into retirement, and then out of retirement, Watson learned a lot about purposeful prayer, and the power of specific prayer.

“I did a lot of praying through this journey; some were ‘yeses’ and some were ‘nos,’” he shared.

“There have been some times in my life when I’ve been really consistent and faithful in prayer, and a lot of times when I haven’t. When I look back and see the times I’ve made this a priority—both corporate prayer, prayer with my wife and family and personal prayer—it’s never been a bad thing.”

“There has never been a time when I’ve thought, ‘Man, I could have been doing something else with that time.’ Never! But yet in our busy livewith our jobs, kids, leisure time, etc.—it seems like such a hard thing to carve out time for.”

He encouraged his readers to go to God in prayer, whether that be by yourself, with your family or with your community.

“Personally, I’m in desperate need of committing to praying more,” he wrote. “The Holy Spirit is with us and available at all times. God is listening at all times.”

“Allow God to answer, but first, you have to ask,” he concluded.

H/T The Increase