In his short NFL career, Deshaun Watson is already quickly becoming an inspiration for a new generation of football players. With Black History Month underway, ESPN highlighted its season-long "Year of the Black Quarterback" series with a television special featuring Watson among the round table of guests.
The one-hour show, which originally aired on Feb. 9, examines the NFL's history of black quarterbacks to its growing number of current starters in Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott among others.
In one clip, Watson discusses Cam Newton and the relationship he had with the Panthers quarterback and former No. 1 overall draft pick.
"Cam was my inspiration," Watson said. "Met Cam in high school and of course, I was going to Clemson and things like that, but I was still getting, 'This guy's better than you, he's a pocket passer, you can just run, blah blah blah.' So when I sat down with Cam, we related, clicked, from Day 1. He became like a brother. So he inspired me."
Watson also discusses paying it forward, working with young quarterbacks and helping them in their development. In 2018, he spent time with Justin Fields, a young high school quarterback headed to the University of Georgia. Fields, a 2019 Heisman Trophy finalist, transferred to Ohio State last season where he was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Big Ten Quarterback of the Year as a sophomore.
"For me, to be able to inspire like a Justin Fields and other guys that are in high school, is really encouraging," Watson said. "I think for sure, the generation is going to continue to grow and continue to improve and continue to take over the league but at the same time, those guys have to make sure they are ready for all the pressure that's going to come with it."
"The Year of the Black Quarterback" covered a range of topics where Watson was part of a discussion panel that included quarterback specialist Quincy Avery, former New York giants receiver Victor Cruz, NFL agent Kristen Campbell, ESPN reporter Josina Anderson and Undefeated senior writers Jason Reid and William Rhoden.