Patriots

Emotional Ben Watson hints at retirement after Patriots' playoff loss

Emotional Ben Watson hints at retirement after Patriots' playoff loss

Retirement.

It was a big topic in the days leading up to the Patriots' Wild Card round game against the Titans, and it was a big topic of discussion in the postgame media scrums as well.

But while the largest and brightest spotlight shone on Tom Brady, he's not the only Patriots player with an uncertain future — either in New England or the league in general.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

And while Brady termed his retirement as "hopefully unlikely," it sure sounds like Ben Watson's playing days are over. When asked what the future held for him, an emotional Watson paused 17 seconds before answering.

"It's difficult. I love this game, but there's a time when you definitely have to move on," he said. "So, I definitely won't be back here next year, probably, and probably won't be playing at all."

Watson had previously announced his retirement last December, but came out of retirement when he signed with the Patriots in May.

"It's something that I've tried to do before and it didn't work, but there's only so much your body can take and so much you want to put your family through before you want to settle down, have some roots and figure out what the next chapter of your life is going to be. We're going to talk about it of course and make family decisions. It's been a great, great run and it's been really special to be back here, and special to have the opportunity to play again."

If this is the end for the 39-year-old Watson, he would have both started and finished his 15-year career with the Patriots, winning Super Bowl XXXIX in his first stint.

He had three catches for 38 yards Saturday night against Tennessee, though his biggest play of the day was wiped out by an ineligible man downfield penalty on Shaq Mason.

Tom Brady shared this sage advice with Titans' A.J. Brown last season

Tom Brady shared this sage advice with Titans' A.J. Brown last season

When the GOAT speaks, you listen, especially when you're a rookie in your first NFL training camp.

That's what Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown did when he crossed paths with then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during Tennessee's joint practices with New England last summer.

According to Brown, the 43-year-old quarterback imparted some valuable wisdom on the second-round draft pick -- the best advice Brown has received as a pro -- at one of those practices.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

"He told me: Work on the things you know you need improvement on, so you won't have no weakness," Brown said Monday in a video conference with reporters, via Titans.com.

"Everybody works hard, but everybody knows what their weakness is. Work on your weakness so you have no weakness."

That's sound advice from Brady, whose relentless drive to eliminate his own weaknesses helped him win six Super Bowl titles with the Patriots over 20 seasons before leaving for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.

It appears Brown took Brady's advice to heart, too: The 23-year-old has been working to improve his conditioning after noticing on film that he looked fatigued during the fourth quarter of games as a rookie, which he believes may have given away some of his routes.

"(I have to) make sure my pad level is the same all the way through the whole route," Brown said. "Just not putting on your turn signal before you turn."

Brown was the only rookie wide receiver to top 1,000 receiving yards last season -- 1,051 yards on 52 catches with eight touchdowns -- so the Ole Miss product could become an elite NFL wideout if he takes another step forward in 2020.

Brady has helped plenty of Patriots wideouts over the years, but he's also been a font of wisdom for other budding NFL stars -- and you can add Brown to that list.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Measuring the toll that opt-outs took around the NFL | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

NFL Rumors: Patriots plan to sign TE Jordan Leggett, DT Darius Kilgo

NFL Rumors: Patriots plan to sign TE Jordan Leggett, DT Darius Kilgo

UPDATE (Aug. 11, 8:45 a.m. ET): The Patriots won't be signing Jordan Leggett after all, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

-- End of update --

The New England Patriots have more open roster spots than any NFL team, but they're reportedly beginning to fill them.

The Patriots plan to sign tight end Jordan Leggett and defensive tackle Darius Kilgo assuming both free agents pass their COVID-19 tests and physicals, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

New England hosted both players for visits last week, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Leggett began his NFL career with the New York Jets in 2017 but missed his entire rookie year due to a knee injury. He caught 14 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown during the 2018 campaign but hasn't played a regular-season snap since after spending the 2019 season on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice squad.

Still, the 25-year-old would add depth to a thin tight end group in New England: Ryan Izzo joins rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene as the only tight ends on the roster after Matt LaCosse opted out of the 2020 season.

Kilgo has spent four NFL seasons on six different teams and spent part of the 2016 campaign in New England, earning a Super Bowl ring while finishing the season on the Patriots' practice squad.

The 28-year-old missed his 2019 season with the Detroit Lions due to injury and last played an NFL snap with the Tennessee Titans in 2018.