“It was tough. It made me grow up fast.” – Watson on his mother’s cancer diagnosis
“He (Watson) is special. He’s a different kind of guy with respect to the caring individual that he is.” – Texans general manager Rick Smith
FNIA Also Includes Feature on Former Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Sam Wyche
“When they put that new heart in there and it starts pumping, you know right away that your life’s changed.” – Former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Sam Wyche
STAMFORD, Conn. – December 23, 2017 – Tonight’s Week 16 edition of NBC’s Football Night in America, the most-watched weekly studio show in sports, will include Peter King’s interview with Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, and a feature on former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Sam Wyche. Football Night will also include highlights and analysis ahead of Vikings-Packers tonight on a special edition of Sunday Night Football. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.
Liam McHugh will host Saturday’s program live from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., alongside PFT Live co-host Chris Simms, and will be joined on site by the Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya.
Dan Patrick hosts Football Night from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1, joined by Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison, and NFL Insider Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. Paul Burmeister will report from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., on Colts-Ravens.
INTERVIEWS: Below are excerpts from King’s interview with Watson and the feature on Wyche. If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing tonight on Saturday’s special edition of Football Night in America.”
PETER KING WITH DESHAUN WATSON
On how he looks to those who have helped him in life: “Like family. They have some part of me and my career and my story within them, and I couldn’t do it by myself.”
On hearing news of his mother’s cancer diagnosis: “It was just a weird vibe when I walked into the house. I was just like, ‘Mom, what’s wrong?’ And she just told me that she was diagnosed with tongue cancer. It was tough. It made me grow up fast. Somebody has to help pay the bills.”
King: “Did you actually go get a job?”
Watson: “I did.”
King: “What did you do?”
Watson: “I started working with the Atlanta Falcons as a ball boy. And then my junior year, I was a tax assessor.”
On meeting Warrick Dunn, whose foundation donated Watson and his family a home during his childhood: “It was an exciting moment. This is a guy I played with in a video game.”
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney on Watson’s commitment to the community as a Tiger: “Right before Deshaun got here, we began working with Habitat (for Humanity) as a team. He’s been a great ambassador for that program. Rolling his sleeves up with his teammates and helping build five or six houses while he was here at Clemson.”
Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith on Watson volunteering for Habitat for Humanity while at Clemson: “That’s what we look for. What has a guy done in the past? He is special. He’s a different kind of guy with respect to the caring individual that he is.”
On why he discusses his past frequently: “Those are the memories and moments that helped me get to where I’m at now, and created the person that I am today.”
Warrick Dunn on his relationship with Watson: “I think we’re going to always be connected. We’re going to have a bond, I would say, that will last a lifetime.”
NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL’S FEATURE ON SAM WYCHE
On his heart transplant: “When they put that new heart in there and it starts pumping, you know right away that your life’s changed.”
On being told he had a finite amount of time to live and when he received his heart transplant: “When the doctor came in and said, ‘You know, we don’t think you’re going to make it,’ they were very honest with me. ‘This is real, you’re not going to survive without a new heart. We can’t fix the one you got.’ There was a peace that came over me. I can’t explain it because I’ve never explained that feeling before. I’ve had a great life. I was going out on top, peacefully and happy.
The heart arrived on time. It was a perfect fit. It was just a second chance at life that somebody gave me. I don’t know how you define a miracle expect in your own personal experiences. And to me, it was a miracle.”
On organ donations: “One death can save seven or eight lives. It can enhance the lives of another 75 or more people. I’m just thinking about what you can do, and how important you are, even in your past. What a great gift you can leave mankind.”
On the heart he received: “This heart inside of me, I don’t know who the person is, his family, what part of the world. When I meet the family, I hope I do, but it’s their call. They’re still grieving possibly, and just not ready to meet me. The first thing I’d say is, ‘Thank you.’ I can’t be more grateful. I’ve been given a second chance to see my kids grow up, my grandkids grow up, and I will promise you, I’m going to keep this heart strong and safe. It means that much to me.”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–