They grow up so fast.
Nearly two years after announcing he had his agent try to get him more targets in the Bills' offense, Sammy Watkins now says he's cool with the Rams spreading the ball around, even if that means less action for him.
"Two years ago, it would've probably been different," Watkins told Rams reporters this week after going without a target until late in Sunday's game. "I would've probably gone to the media and been saying whatever, trying to get the coach's attention. That's how I used to do it back then. Like, 'I need more targets.' Then that comes to the coach, and me and him have to talk."
Watkins (in)famously demanded at least 10 targets a game during Rex Ryan's first season as coach, lamenting that other receivers around the league had better numbers than he did.
"I need the ball at least 10 times – I need 10 targets – and I’ll be fine with however many yards I get," he told The News in October 2015. "And that’s what I addressed in talking with my agent. We reached out to a couple people and tried to pull some strings like, ‘Hey, I need my targets. You came up to draft me and I’m not getting targets – that’s a problem. You’re making me look bad and you’re making yourself look bad. Why not make both of us look good?’ ”
Watkins said he now regrets taking such a brash approach.
"It definitely helped me and my coach learn each other," Watkins said. "At the same time, I feel like it affected my teammates because they looked at it as selfish."
Watkins added later: "I felt like I was consumed, and I was angry. It was affecting my relationships with the coaches and with the players. I wanted to be great so bad, but I was also selfish, too. Because there were some games that we won and I didn’t get the ball, and I was upset. I looked at both sides of it, like, yeah, it is a point where you want to be great, but you also have to understand what we have on this team."
Watkins, who can become a free agent after the season, said he now understands that everyone else needs the ball, too. Running back Todd Gurley leads the Rams (3-1) in touches by a wide margin, with 80 carries and a team-high 20 receptions this season. Watkins and rookie Cooper Kupp are tied in second with 14 receptions each while Robert Woods has 12, though both receivers have more targets than Watkins.
"I have to just be honest with myself: There’s a lot of guys who are really good in this wide-receiver room," Watkins told Los Angeles reporters. "Not just wide receivers, but you have the tight ends, you have a running back who needs his touches, and there’s a lot of guys who can do just about the same that I can do. When you have as much potential in one room, I have to be honest and say I’m not going to get 20 targets like an Odell Beckham or a Julio Jones or these other guys.
"But I’ll take winning games over making myself feel good."
Story topics: Sammy Watkins