Skip to main content

Ravens Get Community Role Model In Benjamin Watson


When Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome talked about why he so aggressively targeted tight end Benjamin Watson, he started with what Watson can do on the field.

In order to play in the NFL, the first priority is that you can play.

But Newsome quickly moved on to bullet point No. 2. The reason why Watson is the perfect fit for the Ravens is because of the person, not just player, he is.

Owner Steve Bisciotti stresses to his general manager and Head Coach John Harbaugh that they bring "good people" into the organization.

"[Watson's] at the top of the charts when it comes to that," Newsome said. "Anyone that you talk to in any of the organizations that he has been around will tell you that there are not too many people that you get a chance to meet equal to Ben."

In 2012, Watson won the Call to Courage Award. In 2014, he was named one of CNN's "most extraordinary people of the year" for his essay on the Ferguson grand jury decision.

Waston was one of three finalists for the 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The award was won by former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Baltimore has a history with the award. In 2011, Ravens center Matt Birk was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year. The award's very first winner in 1970, back when it was just the NFL Man of the Year Award, was Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas.

Last year, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was a strong contender for the prize. It wouldn't be a surprise if former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith or current Ravens running back Justin Forsett, who aided in Flint, Mich. recently, ever took home the honor.

Now the Ravens are going to have a tough time deciding who to nominate between Smith, Forsett and Watson.

Though Watson signed just a two-year contract in Baltimore, he plans on jumping into the community.

"My wife and I love to be connected to every community that we're involved in," he said. "We never wanted to be people who come in and out of a community and never really touch base or touch any hearts there. So we plan on setting down roots here for whatever length of time we're here."

Watson and his wife, Kirsten, do a lot of work through the Watson One More Foundation.

Last year in New Orleans, they held several events, including the Big Benefit in which they took 25 families from a domestic violence shelter on a shopping spree. Watson also hosts several youth football camps and is the spokesman for the All-Pro Dad campaign.

"The purpose of One More is to spread the love and hope of Christ to one more soul," Watson said. "We do that by meeting people's real needs, whether that's clothing or food or whatever it is, or by promoting education."

In November of 2015, Watson released a book he authored called "Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us."

In the book, Watson takes on issues such as the racial unrest in Baltimore, as well as in Ferguson, Mo. and Charleston, S.C. Watson wrote a 497-word Facebook post on the Baltimore riots, which received 39,000 likes and led to an appearance on CNN.

"The whole country was watching what was happening here," Watson said. "I think it's something that's really a deep divide in our country and I'm into healing and unity. We can't wait to come here."

Watson said he and his wife feel like it was no accident that their path led to Baltimore, where they can help a community very much in need.

"I don't think I'm any savior or anything like that, but we all have a certain sphere of influence, no matter who we are," Watson said. "And our job is to positively affect people wherever we are."

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