Originally posted by SonocoNinerFan:
The worst part was that it happened during his first game as an Eagle.
That's kind of my point. He had a great attitude while he was a 49er, but that changed after he left. This was a kid who loved to play football! Go back and look at his early games - watch him get tackled and flip back to his feet, or do a spin move out of the huddle - in preseason games. He was pure energy all the time. He got asked in his second season (he missed his rookie year with an injury) if the way he was used at Notre Dame cost him a shot at the Heisman. All he talked about was how Lou Holtz made him a multi-dimensional players - able to play running back, flanker, and able to return kicks and punts. He said that lead to him being a 49er, and he wouldn't go back and change anything.
Then his contract came up. The best RB we had since Roger Craig. THREE TD's in the Super Bowl. And it "earned" him a low contract offer from the 49ers. That's what changed it from a "game" to a "business" for him. "For what, for who?" says it all - why should I get killed in garbage time of a game we've already lost, when nobody is going to appreciate it later? Was it the right thing to say? Of course not. If he felt that way or not, saying it simply put a black mark on his career that he will never be able to wipe away. But he was a passionate and emotional kid, and he said what he thought.
The way the 49ers treated him, caused a situation where both sides lost. Watters developed the selfish attitude, and the 49ers were left with a pathetic run game. I think it was of the worst personnel decisions the team had made since leaving Ronnie Lott unprotected in Plan B.