DAVIE — The season-ending knee injury to DeShaun Watson robbed the Houston Texans of their electric rookie quarterback but also broke the hearts of Dolphins players who also attended Clemson.
“Devastated,” linebacker Stephone Anthony said Friday. “Devastated for not only a friend, but a brother of mine. It sucks.”
Cornerback Cordrea Tankersley: “Definitely heartbreaking.
“I reached out to him, told him I was thinking about him. He’s actually got a million people hitting him up. I just wanted to make sure I reached out to him. My parents did as well because he was real close to them. That’s tragic.”
Citing Watson’s character and work ethic, Tankersley and Anthony took solace in the expectation Watson will bounce back next season and pick up where he left off.
“Definitely,” Tankersley said. “He’s handled these adversities before. A very humble guy, a very dedicated guy.”
Tankersley recalled when Watson tore his opposite ACL his freshman year with the Tigers.
“And he was able to play the last game on a torn ACL,” Tankersley said. “We beat South Carolina. He had a chance to rehab that whole year and he came back and we went to the national championship after that. So he has a bright future ahead of him. It’s not over for him.”
How did Watson suit up with a torn ACL?
“I have no idea,” Tankersley said. “They braced it up, wrapped it up and gave him an IV and he just went to work. He balled.”
Via social media, Watson wrote, “My NFL brothers, thanks for all the prayers. … To the countless others who have reached out, I am humbled and can only say thank you from the depths of my heart. I play this game for you all and I am grateful for the love you have shown me, not only over the past 24 hours, but throughout this entire season.”
Watson had surpassed some numbers put up by Dan Marino as he began his rookie season in 1983. Tankersley and Anthony agreed that the injury should not stop Watson from claiming Rookie of the Year honors.
“People shouldn’t be held accountable for losing an award like that because of an injury,” Tankersley said.
Although many around the league were stunned by the performances Watson had, Anthony wasn’t one of them.
“It goes to show coach was right,” Anthony said, referring to Clemson’s Dabo Swinney’s bold prediction for Watson this season. “He said he’s going to be the Michael Jordan of this league, right? I think it’s a great start. You can’t start any better than he did.”
Have you visited The Daily Dolphin Facebook Page? It’s really, really good