It is quite an interesting twist of fate that Watson is joining Crawford on the Raiders. The two have known each other since high school and the two of them make up the entire fraternity of British former basketball players in the NFL.
"Yeah. I know Jack Crawford," said Watson. "We played against each other when we were 15, 16 years old in the English national championship game, and we actually beat them by 25 points. But Jack was one of the top prospects in England , and parts of Europe , at the time, he was really good. When he got drafted last year, text him and congratulate him too."
But Crawford became a lot more than just a fellow British hoops prep star. Ultimately, Crawford's path gave Menelik the inspiration that the jump from the court to the field was a real possibility. If it hadn't been for Crawford, life would be a lot different for the big offensive lineman right about now.
"At the time, when I was playing basketball, things just happened at Marist (College, New York) and things had happened in my life where I needed a change and I was just planning on going back to Europe and get a job. Actually, I didn't know what I was going to do. I was going home with no plan. But before I left, a lot of people were telling me to play football, and I'd seen what happened with Jack Crawford when he went to the states. My friend Matt Williams, who plays football at Cal-Berkeley, he had a similar situation. They all did it from the prep school level, but I was trying to convert from the college level. And I did it, and when I got on the field I just found a love and passion for the physicality of it and just the history of the sport, too."
He definitely followed Crawford's path - almost to a tee. Both didn't start playing football until late, were recruited to play at division one powerhouses and worked their way up to becoming Raiders draft choices.
I can't wait to hear the British trash talking as Watson blocks Crawford from getting in the backfield in practice. Hopefully Crawford is a Manchester United fan because Watson is a big Manchester City fan. When asked why he chose Man City over Man U, he said plainly "Because Man United sucks."