On Monday, the Patriots' roster exemption ran out for veteran tight end Benjamin Watson and therefore he was released.
The 38-year-old was suspended the first four games of the season, but then was not activated for Week 5 against the Redskins and then was ultimately let go the day after the game when the exemption ran out. Watson originally joined the Patriots for his second stint with the team this offseason when he came out of retirement and moved his entire family, including seven kids under the age of 10, to the New England area.
Watson conducted his first interview since being released Wednesday with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as bitter," he said. "I am definitely disappointed. Definitely sad about the situation. You mentioned all those things. It’s different when it is just you, but when you are a father and a husband and you are making these types of decisions for your family -- you’re moving across the country, those types of things, which is part of the job -- there’s still a lot more to consider. That adds to it.
"It’s one thing for me to deal with being released, but to come home and tell the kids, that sort of things. Then go to school and have to deal with questions. All that stuff kind of goes into it. No, I am not bitter. I understand the business side of it. Shoot, I wish I had earned a roster spot. Obviously, I did not do enough.”
The veteran detailed what the past week-plus was like coming off suspension and not being activated to the roster.
“Well, when I came off of my suspension and came back into the building that week and I wasn’t activated the first week, I thought maybe something was up," he said. "But, I didn’t know for sure. You just don’t know how it is going to go from week-to-week and you just stay prepared. I stayed prepared — mentally and physically -- throughout that whole time and was ready to go. I did know that when it comes to football, football is a team sport. It is about momentum. It is about camaraderie, those sorts of things. Coaches have to make decisions about what they think the best grouping is of players for their rosters. Then coming back on Monday, I knew that was the day and I hadn’t heard anything throughout the day. I was just waiting for the conversation, either way.”
Ultimately, Watson met with Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio, who told him the team simply didn't have a roster spot for him, which was exactly what Belichick told the media afterwards, too.
“I appreciated that. I appreciated the fact they didn’t send anyone to tell me, I didn’t find out on Twitter," Watson said. "I appreciated the fact that they sat me down.”
On Tuesday, Tom Brady spoke to the media and said how much Watson meant to him, which meant a lot to the 38-year-old.
“I did hear that and I texted him afterwards thanking him," he said. "I love that guy. Seriously. You hear that a lot in football, but I really do love him. Part of the reason for coming here was to play with him again and to spend time with him in the locker room, but also to take to the field and go out there and compete with him because he really is the ultimate competitor. It meant a lot. It meant a whole lot to me to hear him say that publicly the other day.”
Watson said he wants to continue playing, but noted there are certain situations that would be appealing to him given the point he is in his life. He also did not rule out potentially returning to the Patriots if that option would ever present itself down the road.