Eagles draft pick Danny Watkins spent four years as a firefighter in his native Canada before he ever even decided to play football. In fact, he only took up football when he came to the US to study to become a full time firefighter. So when he came to the New York this week for the NFL draft, it made sense that the FDNY invited Watkins and his firefighter cheering section out with them.
"We had an amazing day with the FDNY," Watkins said, "Just the opportunity to spend time with them and meet them... They embraced me as one of their own, as a brother, like I've known them 20 years. When my name got called tonight I thought there was going to riot up there on the balcony."
Watkins said that the FDNY took him to ground zero for a tour and to talk about their memories with a fellow firefighter.
"We had the opportunity to pay our respects to ground zero and that was probably one of the most sobering and humbling experiences of my entire life. I don't know what I'd do losing one member of the fire service that I grew up with, let alone 343 brothers. Seeing that, seeing the memorials and speaking to the guys that lost guys, words can't describe the pain you felt for them. It doesn't seem that long ago after being there today. Today, besides from the draft, it was something I'll never forget, that's for sure."
Teams always say they love "higher character guys," and Eagles fans should be proud to have the guy who many see as the highest character player in the draft.