Sammy Watkins helped the Kansas City Chiefs win a Super Bowl. There's certainly no shame in that.
So although Watkins is on the other side of Sunday's primetime Ravens-Chiefs matchup, he has no ill will toward his former team.
"I honestly think they already know what type of player I am. It's not me proving anything to them," Watkins said Thursday. "I love those guys over there. I had fun. I had my best time winning. I just thinking I'm on the other side now. I just want to go out there, have fun, make big plays and will a win."
Watkins signed a big three-year, $48 million contract with the Chiefs in 2018. He fought through injuries that cost him 14 games over three years and limited his production. He had 519 yards in 2018, 673 in 2019 and 421 in 2020 with a combined eight touchdowns in his three years.
Watkins never quite lived up to the big-time billing as a Chief, but he made plays when it mattered the most, earning the nickname "Playoff Sammy" for his clutch catches. This summer, Watkins said his job in Kansas City was also different than it is now in Baltimore.
"In Kansas City, I looked at it like, 'I'll play my role. Let me open Tyreek Hill up. Let me open Travis Kelce up,'" Watkins told NFL.com’s Jeffri Chadiha. "Now it's like I'm not worried about getting somebody else open. I'm thinking, 'I'm going to beat this dude and get the ball.'"
Watkins has made a strong early impression in Baltimore after signing his one-year deal. He spent time training with Lamar Jackson and others in the offseason. He participated in organized team activities and immediately took on a leadership role in the Ravens' young wide receivers room.
Injuries popped up again in training camp, sidelining Watkins for a couple weeks, but he returned to the field looking explosive.
He showed just that in the Monday Night Football opener in Las Vegas, making four catches for 96 yards It was the most receiving yards he had in a game since Week 1 of 2019. Watkins' night included a long over-the-shoulder basket catch for 49 yards to set up a touchdown.
"I haven't been that deep ball threat in the past three years," Watkins said. "To have that opportunity and do it in the game on one of the biggest stages on Monday night was special."
Watkins also had a 29-yard gain in which he made a short catch, beat a defender to the edge and tightrope walked up the sideline, showing how much he'll help Baltimore in yards after catch.
The fast start from Watkins and Marquise "Hollywood" Brown were two of the brightest spots from Monday night's game. Much attention has been put on whether Baltimore's upgraded wide receiver corps could help the passing game the next step and the first impression was a definite yes.
"Sammy Watkins is a great receiver. We're lucky we have him; he's a really valuable member of this team," Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said. "If we continue to get looks, we want to get him the ball. When he's rolling, he's rolling. I've seen it before."
Roman was with Watkins in Buffalo when the then-second-year receiver posted a career-high 1,047 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Watkins is looking to get back to that level this year.
Considering the injuries in the Ravens' backfield and offensive line, Baltimore is going to need its playmakers to shine even brighter. Watkins had seven catches for 62 yards in last season's Ravens-Chiefs game at M&T Bank Stadium. It was one of his best games of the year.
Now Watkins is looking to come out a winner again this time around, and he's willing to do whatever it takes – even if it means sharing his inside info on the Chiefs offense with the Ravens defense.
"I'm trying to win at the end of the day," Watkins said with a grin. "So snitch or no snitch, anything I can give Wink and the defense, that's what I'm going to do. I'm not particularly giving up plays, but 'Hey, do this on this guy and do this on that guy.'"