You knew it was going to be about the hair... right?
After new Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins created a media stir by reporting to training camp without his well-known dreadlocks, you just had to know that the first time reporters had a chance to question him, they’d ask about his hair.
So on Thursday afternoon, they did. And no... he’s not worried about “the Samson thing,” as one reporter put it so eloquently.
“I just woke up one morning and decided to cut it,” he said. “I kinda just wanted to be different this season. I’ve had it for maybe 12 or 13 years. I’m 25 now. I don’t want to be 40 with dreads. So I just decided to cut it.”
Nobody asked him, of course, why there should be a problem with a 40-year-old-man sporting dreadlocks. They had more important topics to get cleared up.
“I was up at three o’clock in the morning, and just started clipping them off,” Watkins reported. “I did it all myself. Took about an hour and a half.”
Watkins said he did it about two weeks before camp began and didn’t even need a hair stylist to even it up.
By some miracle, no one asked him if he was considering a second career in cosmetology.
But as you might have heard, Watkins is an NFL football player. So eventually, the questions got around to that.
One reporter wanted to know if cutting his hair was meant to symbolize a new start with a new team.
“New year... new team,” he said. “I’m trying to have new aspirations with this team: trying to lead this team to division wins and championships. That’s my goal.”
The reporters noted that in the afternoon practice, Watkins and new Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes did pretty well together. But Watkins isn’t satisfied yet.
“Of course we’ve got chemistry just from working at OTAs, but we’ve got to get on the same page — so when he looks at me, I know what he’s thinking, and he knows what I’m thinking,” he explained.
“Of course we’re not there yet - we’ve got to go through this training camp, and play a couple of real games together so we can feel each other out. Until we do that, we don’t know what it is. I mean, Patrick is great, but until you’ve got live bullets flying at you, that’s when you’re serious.”
But when it was his turn before the gaggle, Mahomes said he thought he and Watkins were coming along very well together.
“I think it is developing really well. He is a guy that will stay after it and get extra work. A guy that really wants to put the work in to be great. When you have guys like that all around our team it is easy to build chemistry and build that deep ball or short pass or whatever it is.“
Earlier, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had spoken in a similar way about Watkins.
“I love Sammy’s attitude and his work ethic. He’s all business. He’s a quiet guy but he’s all business. I love the way he goes about it. True pro,” he said. “Everybody had a chance to catch the ball today so that’s what’s nice about having the guys that we have.
“They all understand there’s one ball and they all get it. Sammy went out and ran a couple beautiful routes where he didn’t get the ball, but ran them like he was gonna get it, he didn’t pull off at all. That’s a great thing when you have that kind of talent.“
Watkins is grateful to be in this situation, saying that it removes a lot of pressure from him.
“I don’t have to come here and be somebody that I’m not,” he explained. “I’ve got great guys that are going to make plays, and I can feed off of those guys. I don’t have to make every catch and every play.
”I know that if I’m not getting the ball, there’s other guys that can go out there and score touchdowns. I can just go out there and run my route, and if I don’t get the ball, I know Travis or Tyreek or Kareem will get the ball, and we’ll score touchdowns.”
Now... about that hair...