Former Azusa Pacific running back Terrell Watson has signed with the Denver Broncos practice squad.
Watson spent this season with the Cleveland Browns where he was put on the practice squad before the start of the season. This is his third team since his rookie year when he joined the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2015.
Prior to the NFL, Watson broke over 20 school records at APU and 25 Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) records, including APU’s single-season rushing record set by former NFL great Christian Okoye in 1986. After 79 touchdowns, almost 6,000 yards and the 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl MVP award while at APU, he’s been fighting for a spot in the NFL.
“I feel excited and exceptionally happy for Terrell. Making it in the NFL is a tough business and Terrell’s a tough person. His perseverance should be applauded, and I think his talent and his character shows through to another team,” APU head coach Victor Santa Cruz said. “He continues to persevere and showcase that he is an NFL caliber athlete. We’re very proud, and I think it’s a good fit for him.”
The Broncos made the move after sustaining injuries at the running back position. Starter C.J. Anderson will have knee surgery and was placed on injured reserve, and Denver activated RB Juwan Thompson from their practice squad to their roster. With Thompson, Denver only has three RB’s on the active roster, requiring the team to look at other RB options around the league.
Former teammate and senior Cougars QB Chad Jeffries believes the move can motivate Watson.
“Knowing Terrell, he comes to practice every day with a hard hat on, ready to work,” Jeffries said. “The move might motivate him more and bring a different tempo and a different energy out of him that would be good for him and Denver.”
APU running back coach and Broncos fan Ben Buys, who coached Watson during his time here, is eager about the move.
“I’m excited. Growing up in Denver, I’m a big Broncos fan. Born and raised, I love the Broncos, so seeing him go to my favorite team was a big deal. I think for him, the offense suits him well,” Buys said.
Watson should feel comfortable in Denver, considering three of the four other running backs on the team were also free agents. Watson can very well make himself onto the active roster if he is able to impress the Denver organization and coaching staff or if another injury occurs at the position.
Buys said he believes the Broncos specialize in finding ‘diamond in the rough players’ and Watson may be able to capitalize off the team’s success if he gets the chance.
“First of all, it’s a winning program, so you got to feel good about that. Going from the worst team in the league to the defending world champion is a cool deal. Anytime a ball club reaches out to you and signs you, I think that’s a big vote of confidence from them, thinking that you have something inside you that can help them win.”