As Sammy Watkins prepares for his first NFL season, he still isn’t sure what he did or said to provoke a heated Twitter attack from conference rival Cleveland Browns safety Donte Whitner. The issue was revisited more than a month after Whitner tweeted out a series of warning in response to fairly harmless remarks made by Watkins to the Akron Beacon Journal. Watkins is as clueless on the whole thing now as he was back then.
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Watkins was recently asked about that exchange last month and had little more to offer to those asking from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"“I really don’t know what happened and why he came at me like that,” Watkins said. “I was in Cleveland for the symposium and someone asked me about the team and I basically told him that they have great cornerbacks and they drafted a great cornerback in (Justin) Gilbert. They have Joe Haden. I really just shouted those guys out and I look forward to competing with those guys . . . . I really don’t know what made him come after me. He’s a veteran and I respect him and I really didn’t say too much back.”"
Whitner’s explanation for the event was equally befuddling.
"“To say it’s gonna be a fight or it’s gonna be this say that about all the other teams in the National Football League. Don’t just circle the Browns. Even if he didn’t say anything disrespectful he really circled the Browns . . . If you’re talking, ‘it’s gonna be a fight,’ you’re talking about me. So don’t circle us and don’t point us out. That’s disrespectful so that’s why I took it that way.”"
That’s right, you don’t just circle the Browns on your calendar, bro! Er, or something like that.
Has Donte Whitner really never heard of a football game metaphorically referred to as a fight? Does he realize he plays in a locale that features a ‘Dawg Pound’? Ya know, like dog fight? Ah, never mind.
If anything, it felt like Watkins was giving credit to the Browns secondary (which should be pretty good this year) and when he referred to it as a fight, he probably meant to say it would be a tough matchup.
Then again, this is nothing new with Whitner, who is more sensitive than a mewling kitten. His beef with Buffalo runs long and deep ever since he was mistakenly drafted eighth overall in 2006 and promptly played the rest of his career at about the level of a third round pick. It wasn’t Whitner’s fault the Bills picked him way too early, but he’s still carrying that chip on his shoulder, per a spat between Whitner and all of Buffalo that ended in Whitner challenging former Bill Darryl Talley to a boxing match.
Whatever transpired between Watkins and Whitner will quietly simmer for now it seems, as Whitner’s Twitter account remained silent after Watkins’ interview. Expect anything but silence on November 30, when the two teams meet at Ralph Wilson Stadium.