Skip to main content

Crockett Gillmore Feels For Benjamin Watson, But Isn't Sweating The Loss


Saturday night's 30-9 victory over the Detroit Lions came with a cost, as starting tight end Benjamin Watson tore his Achilles on the first play of the game.

Suddenly, the "best [tight end] group in the NFL," according to Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore, isn't looking as robust.

But don't expect Gillmore to release a retraction.

"We were here before he was, so I don't know what added pressure there would be," Gillmore said Saturday night. "We've done this before. ... We're not sweating. We'll make it work."

Without Watson, the Ravens were down to Gillmore, Darren Waller, Nick Boyle and Dan Brown as their tight ends against Detroit.

Dennis Pitta (finger) and Maxx Williams (undisclosed) are still sidelined. Pitta's recovery from a fracture in his finger suffered in a training camp scuffle has taken longer than expected. Waller and Boyle won't be available for the first four and 10 games of the regular season, respectively, because of suspensions.

"They'll take care of their stuff; they always do," Gillmore said of Pitta and Williams' injuries. "I'm not in any rush, I'm not freaking out, I'm not sweating bullets."

Coming off a career year in which he caught 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns, Watson was signed this offseason to add more of a vertical receiving threat down the middle of the field, among other reasons.

Though he had yet to catch a pass in the preseason, Watson was building good chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco in practice.

"He's been a great teammate, and I think was really developing into a weapon for us. I was really excited about getting to play with him this year," Flacco said. "That's going to be really tough on us."

Gillmore pointed to fullback Kyle Jusczcyk and the Ravens' abundance of talent at wide receiver as two factors to help offset the loss, especially if the other tight ends aren't back soon.

Once Pitta is back on the field, he should once again bring a vertical pass-catching threat to Baltimore's offense. Williams has developed into a reliable chain-mover and last year's starter, Gillmore, is a wrecking ball.

For the remaining tight ends, it's a matter of staying healthy. Watson hadn't missed a single training camp practice and has been an extremely durable player over his 12 years. Pitta (two hip surgeries), Gillmore (shoulder issues) and Williams (various injuries) have all been on and off the field.

Gillmore, who caught 33 passes for 412 yards and four touchdowns last year, said he's feeling healthier than ever this preseason. He had a procedure on one of his shoulders this offseason.

"I'm strong," Gillmore said. "Healthy, weight's back, still a [punk]. It's time to go now."

One couldn't help but think about whether Saturday night's game will be Watson's last. He's 35 years old and has many interests outside of sports.

"You can imagine how tough it is for him right now, what he's probably going through with his family," Flacco said. "So I just wish him the best, and I'm definitely disappointed about what happened."

That will be a decision Watson and his family have to make, but he at least has two other Ravens veterans to provide advice in wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who also suffered Achilles injuries in their early-to-mid 30s.

"It's a horrible feeling," Suggs said. "When you work hard all offseason and you prepare to have a really good year, and you lose it on an injury, especially an injury like that, it's heart-breaking. But it's not the end of the world, and you just start with the next day. You just kind of take your time and you stack the good days."

After surgery and immediate recover, Watson will perhaps return to the Under Armour Performance Center to continue in helping to mentor the team's tight ends and other players.

"It's been a short time, but I hope he stays and I hope he continues to be a part of what we're doing around here," Gillmore said. "He set the foundation this offseason and we're looking forward to hopefully continuing that."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content