Sammy Watkins knows he must stay healthy to revive a career with the Packers

Another injury had Sammy Watkins overweight and thinking his NFL career could be over. He’s got another chance to slim down and produce with the Green Bay Packers, but the veteran receiver knows he must stay healthy and be available to get his career turned around.

“That’s been the knock on my career, staying on the field,” Watkins admitted Wednesday.

Watkins, who turns 29 years old next week, has played 13 or fewer games in five of his eight NFL seasons. He missed six games during the 2020 season and four more last year. Of the 129 total regular-season games since being drafted fourth overall in 2014, Watkins has played in 99, meaning he’s missed roughly 25 percent of his total games at the NFL level.

Constant injuries can wear down a player and dry up employment opportunities.

Watkins admitted he was up around 220 pounds while recovering from last year’s injury but said Green Bay could be a place where he can “revive his career.” He’s down in the 215-pound range now and wants to play closer to 210. He knows he can’t stop injuries, but he’s going to do everything he can to prevent them.

“Just do everything in my might and power to stay on the field,” Watkins said. “When I’m on the field, I can ball, I can catch the ball, I can score. I’m a dominant player. But the key is staying on the field. ”

Watkins said his “back is against the wall” because his career so far hasn’t met his own expectations, mostly due to injuries. But he thinks playing with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay could be the “best situation he’s been in” during his NFL career.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to come here, play hard, catch a ton of balls, compete at the highest level and win games and fight to stay healthy,” Watkins said. “To get this opportunity is a blessing… hopefully, I can have a healthy season and play hard and win a ton of games.”

Watkins believes he has a lot to prove. He hasn’t produced more than 500 receiving yards since 2019.

On Tuesday, Aaron Rodgers expressed confidence in opportunities being available for Watkins. Coach Matt LaFleur said earlier Wednesday that Watkins would be a “big part” of the Packers offense in 2022. His experience could be valuable in Green Bay as the Packers attempt to replace Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the passing game.

After last season, when he caught only 27 passes for the Baltimore Ravens, Watkins wasn’t sure where his career would go or if it would even continue.

“Last year I got hurt again, and I’m thinking, I’m sitting on the couch, I’m gonna be out of a job. To get that call (from the Packers), it’s like, I have another opportunity, another chance, to come in and play hard and stay healthy, ”Watkins said.

Might a full season playing with the four-time MVP rejuvenate the career of a top-five pick from the 2014 season? Only if he’s on the field. Watkins is a man desperate to avoid injury and play a full year.

Maybe divine intervention is required.

“I pray to God I have a healthy season.”

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