Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Danny Watkins relishing a fresh start
By James Walker
DAVIE, Fla. -- New Miami Dolphins guard Danny Watkins was all smiles on Tuesday. The former first-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles was far away from the pressure of being a recent draft bust.
In Miami, Watkins was no longer on the hot seat with the Eagles and their fans. Watkins was allowed to relax and be just one of the guys again in practice with a new team.
“It’s huge for me,” Watkins said of the change of scenery. “I’ve struggled in Philadelphia. I don’t want to dwell too much on the past, but there’s definitely some issues there. This is huge for me. It’s a very exciting time for me and my family.”
In some ways, Watkins says he feels like a rookie again. The Dolphins signed him to a one-year contract after Philadelphia released him earlier this week.
Watkins has been questioned on everything from his ability to his toughness in two years in Philadelphia. However, the slate is clean for Watkins in Miami. Watkins is a backup guard simply learning a new system behind starters Richie Incognito and John Jerry.
“He has a lot of football left in him," Watkins' agent, Joe Panos, told ESPN.com Tuesday morning. "The best thing to happen to him is to get out of Philadelphia. He needs a fresh start and the Dolphins realize that."
You can see it in Watkins' face and demeanor that he's both relieved and excited. Watkins probably hasn’t felt that way in a while with all that’s gone on in Philadelphia.
Miami lacks depth on the offense line and can use Watkins at some point this year. The Dolphins cut one of their top reserves -- Josh Samuda -- to make room for Watkins.
The Dolphins will do what they can to see if Watkins can reach his potential. Rebuilding Watkins' confidence will be a good starting point.
“I got to Philadelphia and it was a rough go from the get-go,” Watkins explained. “I felt like it just got broken down to bones and just never got built back up. It was more a mental thing. It was very disappointing to myself it just never panned out the way it could.
“I know I can play physical and tough football, but I think it was more a mental aspect more than anything.”