Ricky Watters: For His Family, For the Fans, For Football

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Ricky Watters: The Family Man

Growing up in Harrisburg, PA, Watters rose to become one of the top football recruits in the country. He would play for the University of Notre Dame before going on to win a Super Bowl with the 49ers alongside legends like Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. He would also be recognized as a 3-time All-Pro running back and a 5-time Pro Bowler, accumulating over 10,000 yards rushing and over 4,000 yards receiving.

According to Watters, the level of excellence he holds himself to in everything that he does was just one of the things that came from the fact he was adopted.

"“[Being an adopted child] pushed me harder. It made me want to be the best in everything,” Watters said. “I wanted to be accepted, I wanted people to like me, I wanted people to think I’m cool, all that kind of stuff.” “It’s made me more understanding of other people and what they’re going through in their lives because it might look all shiny, but you can have something that you’re dealing with.” “It was something that I had to work through, and I think it made me a better player and a better person.”"

Using his pedigree as a famous football player, Watters hasn’t let the fame get to his head, instead using his influence to help bring awareness to the number of children and teens that are either adopted, in foster care or in single-parent homes who require just as much — if not more — guidance than a child or teen from the average American home.

In fact, Watters’ 8-year-old son, Shane, is adopted, which is a testament to the kind of passion Watters has for helping youth currently in the dependency system. His advocacy for adopted children is but one of the charitable things Watters is involved in, but you could tell just by the way he speaks about his children that his love as a father is what’s central to his philanthropy.

"“The thing I really want to be is a really good father to my kids and to bring them up,” Watters said. And they better they do, the better I’ll be, because I raised them.”"

Though it may come to some as a surprise, Watters’ 14-year-old son, Ricky Jr., isn’t a developing football prodigy, but rather an aspiring musician and performer. Watters would mention he shares his son’s love for music, but admits he just “can’t do what he does.”

"“I’m hoping I can get him at all the games around here – at the Giants game, Golden State – because he really can blow it and he loves it, and I want to cultivate that in him because he has the ability.” “He plays the piano, he plays the guitar – he’s an all-around performer and I would just love to cultivate that ’cause I love the fact that he was like ‘Dad, I hope you don’t mind if I don’t play football and follow in your footsteps.'” “He’s his own guy, and he has his own thing.”"

Of course, fatherhood isn’t without it’s hardships.

Watters and his wife, Catherina, unfortunately lost their first child, Tigero, in 1999 after Tigero was born prematurely. The couple also suffered a lost when the biological grandparents of the first child they tried to adopt wanted the child back after six months of being in the Watters’ family care.

But just like in his playing career, Watters continued to break through walls set against him and his family, and they persevered. His love for his immediate family is an inspiring concept in itself, but it’s also the love he has for his football family that truly makes him Ricky “Running” Watters.

Next: Ricky Watters: The Fan Favorite

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