A Limestone County family celebrated Sunday as a local athlete made his NFL debut.
Terrance “Quez” Watkins, a graduate of Athens High School, laced up for the first time as a Philadelphia Eagle on Sunday in their loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
About 5,000 fans were allowed into Heinz Field for the game and Watkins’ mother and brother made the trip to watch.
“Yeah we’re very excited, we’re thrilled.” Mookie and Nicole said. “We’re thrilled.”
The wide receiver, who played college ball at Southern Miss, was activated off the injured reserve on Saturday and was thrown into action on Sunday with injuries to Philadelphia’s receiving core.
Watkin’s “number one fans” felt unbelievably lucky to watch Quez make his debut.
Before the game, Nicole spoke to her son and said he was humbled but excited.
“He’s ready to get out there and show everybody what he can do,” she said. “He said, ‘You might not know me now, but you will before the season is over with.’”
Among those who already know Quez well is Drew Phillips, the Athens High School offensive coordinator.
Phillips was Watkins’ position coach during his senior year and said he knew he had something special back then.
“There was no stopping him,” Phillips said. “Most teams that we played would put two guys on Quez, you know, a guy up on him and a guy over the top and a lot of times it didn’t matter, because of the speed that he had.”
Though Watkins isn’t at the top of the Eagles’ depth chart, Phillips says he knows the wide receiver likes a challenge and is excited about what he’s going to continue to do.
Coronavirus restrictions prevented the family from getting on the field to celebrate with Quez, but Nicole said being able to be there for him was still a special moment.
“I haven't seen my baby in a couple months, but seeing him today, being out there, I'm excited,” she said. “It’s just a blessing.”
Watkins did not register any stats in the loss, but was targeted on one pass.