Chris Watson (American football)

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Chris Watson
No. 21
Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1977-06-30) June 30, 1977 (age 39)
Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois
Career information
High school: Chicago (IL) Leo
College: Eastern Illinois
NFL Draft: 1999 / Round: 3 / Pick: 67
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Tackles: 69
Interceptions: 2
Punt/Kick Returns: 174
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Chris Watson (born June 30, 1977 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League. He played for the Denver Broncos, the Buffalo Bills, and the Detroit Lions.

Early years[edit]

Chris attended Leo Catholic High School in Chicago, part of the Chicago Catholic League.


Watson attended Eastern Illinois University as a student and a football standout. In football, he was a four-year letterman and a three-year starter.

Professional career[edit]

Watson was drafted 67th overall in the third round by the Denver Broncos of the 1999 NFL Draft, then the highest an Eastern Illinois player had ever been drafted.[1][2] Head coach and fellow alumnus Mike Shanahan was so impressed by Watson's performance in the pre-season, he released both veteran return specialists and made Watson the starter.[3] In his rookie season, Watson returned 48 kickoffs, and 44 punts including an 81-yard touchdown against Seattle in Week 15 (then the 5th longest in franchise history), but also fumbled 5 times and was traded to Buffalo. He was the Bills' primary return specialist in 2000, but almost exclusively as cornerback in 2001 and 2002. He was traded to the Lions before the 2003 season, but never appeared in a game.[4]

As of 2017's NFL off-season, Watson shared the Broncos franchise record for kick returns in a season (48) with Chris Cole.


  1. ^ As of 2017, only Jimmy Garoppolo (2nd/62 in 2014) has been taken earlier.
  2. ^ "Garoppolo To Return Friday Night For Draft". EIU Panthers. 
  3. ^ Berardino, Mike (September 13, 1999). "Kick Returner Chris Watson". Sun-Sentinel. 
  4. ^ See career stats.

External links[edit]