Watson: Big brother Ben always served as an example

Watson: Big brother Ben always served as an example
May 13, 2014, 3:45 pm
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FOXBORO -- Asa Watson was celebrating Mother's Day with his family at a Charlotte restaurant when he heard the news that he would be a New England Patriot.

The undrafted tight end out of North Carolina State got a hug from his mom, Diana, and an even bigger embrace from his big brother, New Orleans Saints tight end and former Patriot, Ben.

"He was excited," Asa said. "He came out the elevator and jumped on me. We had a big group hug. It was cool."

Asa Watson was in eighth grade when Ben was drafted by the Patriots in the first round in 2004 with the No. 32 pick. As a result, Asa spent the next six years rooting for his brother and New England.

Now at 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, Asa's about as big as his older brother, and he's starting his career in the same place.

"He told me it's a great place to go," Asa said. "It'll help me develop as a young player. It's a great opportunity. I'm just really thankful they would choose me to be a free agent. It's an awesome opportunity. I'm just grateful to be chosen."

In a meeting with local media at Gillette Stadium, Asa recounted memories of Ben's playing days with the Patriots.

There was the time he and his family watched on TV as Ben chased down Champ Bailey from behind during the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff game.

"I remember sitting on the couch," Asa said. "I thought the play was over. All of a sudden my dad jumps up and said 'Look at Benjamin! Look at Benjamin!' He ran down Champ Bailey. It was amazing. It was an amazing play."

Then there was the time Doug Flutie drop-kicked an extra point in 2006.

"I remember that vividly," Asa said. "I think that was against Miami."

Watson looked up into the Gillette Stadium stands and tried to get a grasp on how the last few years had gone. Especially since in 2011 he had two separate heart surgeries to repair a rapid heartbeat.

"It feels really cool," he said. "It's really surreal to be seeing that as a young person and actually now I'm in a position that [Ben] was. But it brings its own challenges. I'm just trying to learn and trying to pick things up as fast as I can. It's definitely a lot different from college."

If he ever has any questions, he knows he can go to Ben, even though Ben is now technically an NFL opponent.

"He's always been there to give me pointers in anything I need help on," said Watson, who had experience on kick-return, punt-return, field-goal and punt units in college.

"Just little things. He's always been an example of how to work hard. How to be determined. How to hustle. He's always been a great example for me."