After an injury-shortened second season with the Chargers, former third-round pick Chris Watt is ready to put 2015 in the rear-view mirror.
The Chargers’ starting center in 2015, Watt was in the opening lineup for the team’s first three games, but early in the Bolts’ third game of the season in Minnesota, a groin injury landed him in the training room. Watt returned to action two weeks later but was felled by a concussion during a Monday Night Football game against Pittsburgh. Watt missed two more games, only to return against Baltimore two weeks later and be hit with a shoulder injury. It was a frustrating turn of events for the Glen Ellyn, Illinois native, who was placed on the “Reserve-Injured” list after the shoulder injury, but he is feeling healthy once again and ready for the Bolts’ 2016 campaign.
As a senior at Notre Dame, Watt was part of an offensive line that allowed just eight sacks, tied for second-fewest in the nation. At the end of the season, he received the school’s Pietrosante Award, which is given to Notre Dame football student-athletes who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride of the late Irish All-American fullback. Pietrosante was Notre Dame’s leading rusher in 1957 and ‘58 and he went on to become a number-one draft pick and a two-time All-Pro selection with the Detroit Lions. Pietrosante died of cancer on Feb. 6, 1988. The recipient of the Pietrosante Award is determined by a vote of the players. Past winners have included former NFL players Tom Zbikowski, Jeff Faine, Harrison Smith, Aaron Taylor and Chris Zorich.
As a junior, Watt started all 13 games as Notre Dame went 12-1 and played Alabama in the National Championship game. Two of Watts’ teammates at Notre Dame were Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o and offensive lineman Trevor Robinson.
Watt hails from a family with a significant lineage in college football. His older brother, Kevin, played defensive end at Northwestern from 2007-11. His father, Rich, played at Division II Hillsdale College in Michigan. His uncle, Bobby Watt, played at Brown University, while his grandfather, William Watt, and his great uncle, Dan Hurley, both played at Harvard.
One of Watt’s hobbies is collecting baseball cards. His most prized card is one that was autographed by Hall of Fame strikeout king Nolan Ryan.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Third-round pick (89) by Chargers, May 9, 2014...signed four-year contract, May 14.
2015: Helped Chargers pass for 404 yards in 33-28 win over Detroit in Sept. 13 as line allowed just two sacks in 44 dropbacks...late in fourth quarter, saw action at right guard...started Sept. 27 at Minnesota at center but left game in first quarter (groin)...inactive Oct. 4 vs. Cleveland (groin)...saw action as reserve left guard Oct. 12 vs. Pittsburgh but left game in third quarter with concussion...inactive Oct. 18 at Green Bay (concussion)...inactive Oct. 25 vs. Oakland...saw brief action at left guard Nov. 1 at Baltimore but injured shoulder and did not return...placed on “Reserve-Injured” (shoulder) Nov. 9.
2014: NFL debut at right guard and on special teams Sept. 28 vs. Jacksonville...saw time at right guard Oct. 5 vs. N.Y. Jets...moved to center early in fourth quarter after Doug Legursky left game with knee injury...continued platoon at right guard Oct. 12 at Oakland as Bolts rushed for 116 yards and passed for 313 while allowing one sack in 35 passing plays during 31-28 win...saw action at center for injured Rich Ohrnberger Nov. 16 vs. Oakland...first career start at center for Ohrnberger and helped block for 128 rush yards in 27-24 win over St. Louis Nov. 23...started at center Nov. 30 at Baltimore, but injured calf in third quarter and did not return...returned to starting lineup Dec. 7 vs. New England...injured ankle early Dec. 20 at San Francisco and did not return...inactive Dec. 28 at K.C.
COLLEGE: First-team All-Independent FBS as junior and senior...started 37 career games at left guard, while playing in total of 50...started 34 straight games before missing Navy game in 2013 due to injury...redshirted in 2009... played at Notre Dame from 2010-13... marketing degree.
PERSONAL: Born in Arlington Heights, Illinois...USA Today and Parade All-America as senior at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, Ill....invited to play in 2009 U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio...first-team all-state as senior...2008-09 Illinois Gatorade Player of Year and 2008 West Suburban Silver Conference MVP...played three different positions on offensive line without yielding sack during career.