FOXBOROUGH — Ben Watson acknowledged there were “some tears” shed at the homestead last week when the veteran tight end was released by the Patriots.
Watson and his wife, Kristen, had to break the news to their seven children that his second stint in New England was over before he had a chance to play in a game. The disappointment didn’t last long, however, as Watson was re-signed this week.
Watson said after practice Thursday it “felt good” to be back in the fold.
“It was a nice windy day out there today. It felt like home,’’ he said. “It’s been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks but glad to be back.’’
The whole experience brought his family closer, he said, as it served as a lesson in how to deal with adversity and prosperity.
“You have to be careful with their emotions as well,’’ Watson said. “As players we go through emotions whether we’re hired or fired, if we have a great game, we have a poor game. We’ve been through all those things. But you want to protect them. So part of the drive home after being fired was, ‘How am I going to talk to my kids about it? How am I going to process this?’ They had a lot of anticipation as we all did and really tell them that this is a part of pro sports but it’s also a part of life. There’s going to be some disappointment. There’s going to be some victories. There’s going to be some sad times and happy times, how do you get through those things.’’
Earlier this week, word got out that Watson was returning, and his son, Isaiah, approached him to try to get confirmation.
“You’re going back?’’ his father recalled Isaiah saying. “I said, ‘Not yet. Not officially yet.’’’
After it became official, he let the crew know.
“They’re all excited,’’ Watson said. “The past week for us was important for us as a family, we’re even closer. But we’re excited.’’
Watson is excited too, especially considering his comeback game is a Monday night affair against a division rival. He believes he can contribute right away.
“One thing about this place is they prepare the players to play,’’ he said. “And so anybody who’s out there, no matter if you’ve been here the entire time or you’ve been here for a week, your job is to perform when called upon, so that’s what I expect to do.’’
Tomlinson to play?
The Patriots might have another tight end debuting against the Jets as Eric Tomlinson also was signed earlier in the week.
Tomlinson is an intriguing addition as he could help fill voids at tight end and fullback. He’s a 6-foot-6-inch, 263-pound widebody known for his physicality.
“He’s a bigger guy,’’ said coach Bill Belichick. “Probably more of a — you know, bigger, [he] has blocking ability. He has been in the backfield. He’s played on the line of scrimmage. So, I don’t know. We’ll see how that all plays out.’’
Josh Gordon missed the full-pads practice as he recuperates from knee and ankle injuries suffered just before halftime of the win over the Giants. Gordon, who is second on the club with 287 receiving yards and is averaging 14.4 yards per catch, was trying to make a tackle on Markus Golden’s interception return when his left leg buckled awkwardly as he the hit the turf.
Matt LaCosse, who also injured his knee against the Giants, also was missing from the practice. NFL Media reported the tight end suffered a sprained MCL and will miss a couple of weeks.
Receiver Phillip Dorsett, who missed the win over the Giants with a balky hamstring, was at the session and was moving free and easy.
No word on Bennett
The only other player missing from practice was Michael Bennett, who has been suspended for a week following what the defensive lineman called a “philosophical difference” with positional coach Bret Bielema.
Belichick declined to discuss Bennett’s suspension during his morning meeting with reporters.
Pressed about what he sees as Bennett’s role going forward, the coach said, “Right now we’re focused on the Jets, so that’s what we’re working on.’’
Julian Edelman (chest), Rex Burkhead (foot), Patrick Chung (chest, foot), and Dorsett were listed as limited on the practice report . . . Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley, who has been out since Week 1 with a groin injury, told reporters in New York he will play vs. the Patriots. He was one of 10 Jets who did not participate in practice . . . Jets rookie defensive tackle Quinnen Williams was listed as a full participant as he comes back from an ankle injury. The third overall pick missed the first Jets-Patriots matchup.