Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeBUSINESSFormer NFL Running Back Justin Watson Has A New Type of Grind

Former NFL Running Back Justin Watson Has A New Type of Grind

During a team meeting, St. Louis Rams coach Dick Vermeil made a request for the lights to be turned off. As the film started to play, Vermeil took his red pointer and pointed it at number 36. On the last play of the practice number 36 wanted the ball, but the play that was called wasn’t for him. As quarterback Kurt Warner dropped back and threw the ball deep down the field, number 36 sprinted in that direction. When wide receiver Torry Holt caught the ball, number 36 was there to block Holt’s defender. The effort impressed Coach Dick Vermeil. “If we are going to win a championship, this is how we have to work. This is what we need to do. We got to work like this young man. I’ll take this young man and this effort on my team any day of the week,” Vermeil stated.
Justin Watson, the football player Coach Vermeil was referring to, was no stranger to hard work and dedication. Coach Vermeil wanted the St. Louis Rams to emulate Watson’s mentality. They did it and the combination of talent, team chemistry, and that mentality helped the Rams go on to have a great season and win Super Bowl XXXIV.
Justin Watson’s football journey took him to a Super Bowl victory and that sought after championship ring. Watson reached the peak of success but his journey didn’t start the typical way. His football grind was a different type of grind. Normally a football player who reaches the professional level starts playing the game at grammar school age, then transitions to middle school, high school, college, and finally drafted into the NFL. Watson didn’t participate in football at an early age. Despite his lack of experience, he earned an athletic scholarship to play at San Diego State University. Once his college career concluded, he wasn’t drafted, but he received the opportunity to sign with the San Diego Chargers as a free agent. Watson was doing well, but his lack of football experience cost him a job. During a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers Watson missed his blitz assignment and the Chargers’ first-round draft choice quarterback Ryan Leaf took a big hit. Watson was immediately removed from the game and later cut by the team. He stayed in San Diego and continued to workout. His goal was to get another opportunity to play in the NFL. He would receive a call from a familiar organization as the San Diego Chargers signed him to the practice squad. Once the season ended, the Chargers allocated Watson to the World Football League which at the time was the equivalent of an NFL Developmental League. Watson played for the Berlin Thunder. Prior to his first game, Watson’s head coach Wes Chandler showed him the USA Today newspaper. This was the way Justin Watson found out he was cut once again by the Chargers. Being cut and having to wear the Chargers decal on his helmet was an embarrassment. The experience motivated him to learn how to play the game, and he had a great season. The St. Louis Rams were impressed with his film from the World Football League, and the rest is history. Justin Watson was able to take an alternate path to grind his way into the NFL, but now he’s on a new type of grind. When he was with the Rams, his play in practice brought a certain type of energy. With the help of his new product, he wants to provide the public with a new type of energy in the form of his BLQK Coffee. Sports/Entertainment journalist Vince D’Writer went one on one with Justin Watson.
Vince: Describe your Swagher. What makes Justin, Justin?
Justin: It’s the fact I keep it 100 with Justin. I know I’m a truly authentic person, and I don’t like to sugar coat anything. I wear my emotions on my sleeves, and I just try to keep it real.
Vince: What was your childhood like?
Justin: My childhood was a little bit different because I’m the first generation born into the United States by way of Jamaica. My parents are Jamaican. I didn’t grow up in a household where we watched football games on Sundays. My father took me to the backyard and it was all about let us build this fence so the dog won’t escape. So my childhood was different in that regard. My childhood was about hard work in the yard versus sports.
Vince: What was your high school experience like?
Justin: I was an academic guy because my parents pushed the importance of education. I got a late start in sports, so I only played one year of high school football. What that shows is if you have a lot of faith, work hard, and stay optimistic, good things will happen. I tell kids all the time very rarely will you see a guy who played one year of high school football and now holds a Super Bowl ring.
Vince: How did you go from having a passion for football to having a passion for coffee?
Justin: When I was playing for St. Louis I would get sleepy in meetings from watching film early in the morning. One day the coach turns on the lights and my eyes are still closed. He’s looking at me, but he doesn’t say anything. So Marshall Faulk says I’m going to start bringing you some coffee. Marshall started bringing me coffee. I wasn’t a coffee drinker prior to that, and I got such a charge from the coffee. It became a part of my routine, and I started getting the coffee because of the energy it gave me. That’s when the passion for coffee developed.
Vince: What inspired you to launch BLQK (Building Legacies for our Queens and Kings) Coffee?
Justin: BLQK Coffee is about showing homage to past queens and kings, the present queens and kings, and the future queens and kings which are our kids. It’s kind of on the core of belief that your choice of coffee can change the world. I’m trying to really take a brand and take something like coffee that I’m passionate about and move the needle for social justice initiatives. We want to donate 25% of our profits back into our communities, back into educational, economical, and food initiatives. I believe that coffee is the vessel. I want to see meaningful conversations over cups of coffee. It’s the platform that I’m using to move that needle for our Black and Brown kids, and for people in general.
Vince: Can you tell us more about the coffee itself. What kind of flavors can we expect?
Justin: From a flavor profile you have the tasting notes of berries, citrus, and floral in our single-origin, and in our blend flavor we have tasting notes of caramel, citrus, and cocoa. We are sourcing from farms in Ethiopia. Our African blend is from different farms in Ethiopia and our single blend is basically coming from one particular farm in Ethiopia. Our goals and initiatives are to source from these Black women-owned farms and actually give back to that farmland.
Vince: Why is social justice and supporting the Black community so important to you?
Justin: After this past year it was really an eye-opening year for me. I thought that something needs to be done and I had to do my part in helping our communities. For me, it’s about using my platform and making sure kids have the right tools for success. What happened with George Floyd was eye-opening because we still have these racial barriers.
Vince: How can consumers reach BLQK Coffee to purchase the product?
Justin: We are direct to consumer, subscription-based, and we are located at It’s available for single-bag purchases and subscriptions.
Justin Watson is the perfect example of hard work and dedication. He executed a different type of grind as he discovered an alternate route to the NFL. Present-day he’s on a business grind as the foundation of his business venture is the grinding of beans. The heart of the company is the social justice mission, and uplifting Black communities. With all that it stands for when you purchase BLQK Coffee, you’re definitely pouring with a purpose.

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