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Friday, May 9, 2014
Sammy Watkins counts on mother

By Jane McManus

Sammy Watkins
Sammy Watkins had his mother with him when he was picked No. 4 overall by the Buffalo Bills.

NEW YORK -- In the hours before Sammy Watkins crossed the NFL draft stage, his mother, Nicole McMiller, tightened up the narrow coils of his long hair. It's a simple ritual, one they've had since Watkins was in sixth grade and started to grow out his hair.

There were times when he was younger, Watkins said, when he could gauge his mother's frustration in the brusque way she moved her fingers. She remembers giving his hair a quick tug if he fidgeted.

But on Thursday before the Bills picked her son with the fourth overall pick, her hands were slow and deliberate, as if she wanted to keep him close for just a little bit longer.

"Getting ready to go on the biggest stage of my life, it's an honor to have her doing my hair," Watkins said.

Over the years, there have been a lot of discussions and information gleaned during those sessions. They've become less frequent since he has been at Clemson for the last three years. But on the morning of the draft, McMiller had her little boy back.

"It was really special for me to sit him on the floor like I used to do," McMiller said.

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