By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ricky Watters is one of the best, most productive running backs in Eagles history. But to this day, he’s known best for something that happened after a game, not during it.
“For who, for what?”
That’s what Watters said on September 3rd, 1995, at a press conference when asked why he didn’t stretch out to catch a pass from Randall Cunningham that would have likely resulted in Watters getting hit hard by a Tampa Bay Bucs defensive player.
It’s so famous, it became the title of Watters’ autobiography.
Now 42 years old, retired, and reflective, Watters wants to leave the famous quote in the past.
“I wish I hadn’t said it. Obviously I don’t want to be known as that, especially in the city that I love, with great fans that are definitely not fair-weathered fans, I’ll tell you that much,” Watters told 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow on Wednesday. Watters is the Eagles’ honorary captain for Sunday’s game against the Lions.
Watters was never known for being quiet.
“The one way I can is, young, and brass. That was my nature more, back then. It’s really crazy for me to even try to explain it because I am so different than that now, but at that time when somebody was to come at, or say anything that I felt was threatening to me, my way was to lash back, and that was I how I lashed back and it was wrong,” Watters said. ”
Watters played only three seasons for the Eagles, but might best be remembered for his time in Philadelphia.
“When I go all-around the world, and I mean around the world, I see Philadelphia fans and I know that they are Philadelphia fans because they let me know. They come up and say, ‘Hey I’m a Philadelphia fan, dawg, I loved you’ or whatever the situation is and ”I wish you would had stayed there and I believe we would have gotten a Super Bowl’ and stuff like that. That is everything to me. That means so much,” Watters said. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice as an Eagle, and rushed for 3800 yards, and scored 32 touchdowns in those three seasons. He carried the ball an amazing 352 times in 1996.
“That’s a big part of me, wanting to come back, is to be able to express that to the fans. That man, I really appreciated all the letters, the emails, everything that you’re saying about I should be in the Hall of Fame and when I do get in there you believe I’m going to get in there, that you’re going to come out to see me and you’re going to be in the stands. I really appreciate that stuff and I think that that goes a long way as to, I think, you understanding that I really wanted to bring a championship home, and feel like it is home. I live right down the turnpike. I grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, so I feel like that’s home to me. That’s a big feeling for me right now, and it’s really why I am so excited about this time. I’ve gone back and had this happen in San Francisco and Seattle, but it’s really special in Philadelphia,” Watters said.
It’s not about making pretend that famous quote on that famous day never happened for Watters, it’s about something more.
“I don’t want to go there and people still think, ‘For who, for what?’ I really loved playing there. I felt like wherever I went people were coming up to me, and everyone acted and they treated me like their native son. And I think that, that’s what I am. And I love that feeling,” he said.