On Thursday night, 32 football players saw their NFL dreams come true as they were selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia. Many of them got very emotional as they walked across the stage and shook hands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. They have spent the better part of the last two decades working towards their goal of becoming an NFL player, so many were understandably overwhelmed by the moment and expressed a range of emotions as they realized what they had accomplished.
Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was picked 12th by the Texans, was more emotional than most. If you’re not familiar with Watson’s back story, his family struggled financially when he was growing up before their lives turned around dramatically after former NFL player Warrick Dunn helped provide the Watsons with a home. Watson has credited that home with helping him stay the course and work towards becoming an NFL player. But just when things were starting to look up for his family, Watson’s mom Deann was diagnosed with tongue cancer, which forced her to spend long stretches away from Watson and his siblings. It also forced Watson to work as many as four jobs at once to support his family.
Watson’s mom wanted him to remember just how much adversity they had overcome as a family. So after he was selected by the Texans, she gave him a letter that he was asked to read aloud. And while he made it through half of the letter without getting choked up, his emotions got the best of him towards the end of it, and it turned into one of the most incredible moments on draft night. You can watch Watson reading the letter from his mom—listen out for the Drake quote at the end—in the clip below:
Rooting for your favorite team to land quality players in the draft is fun. But this moment that Watson and his mom shared is what the draft is really all about.