From working at Wendy’s with his mom to game winning interceptions in the NFL: the Odyssey of Jaylen Watson

The Thursday Night Football matchup between the Chargers and Chiefs had one hero, one clear MVP: Jaylen Watson. And the tale of the 6’3, 205 pound defensive back is one of the most resilient stories in the NFL, if not all US sports.

The Chiefs’ seventh round pick Jaylen Watson’s story makes him very easy to root for, and this was the case before he returned a 99-yard interception to give his team the lead and the top spot in the AFC West.

His post high-school story began at Ventura College, a junior college in California that he went to for two years. He then signed to attend the popular Southern Cal. But he never made it to SCU because he needed to finish certain classes to become eligible.

How Jaylen Wayson ended up working at Wendy’s

After finally being eligible and red-shirting his junior year, he returned to his home in Augusta, Georgia and worked for his mother, who manages a Wendy’s franchise. “I love her to death, but it was terrible (laughing),” Watson said during preseason.

“It’s so bad, you get no breaks away from your mother – you go to work, you’re with your mom, you go home, you’re with your mom. You can’t even talk about work. It’s just bad. But I still love her”, he explained.

Watson was initially a long shot to make the Chiefs 53-man roster, but he made it after all after a solid preseason and impressing his head coach Andy Reid. Watson credits his mother for the resilience that made it possible.

What role did Jaylen Wayson’s mother have in his success?

“My mother’s always been so supportive of me. I went through a lot of ups and downs in my life, whether I wanted to be an actor or rapper or whatever, she was always there to support me. She’s like my superwoman”, he said

After ending his college career at Washington State, the defensive back was rewarded when the Chiefs took him as one of five defensive backs they spent a draft pick on.

Watson thought he would be drafted, but he knew it would just ‘barely’ happen: “It was so nerve-racking.I knew I was going to be a day three guy. Everyone just kept aggravating me and they were irritating.”

The moment Jaylen Wayson got Drafted by the Chiefs

When Watson finally got the call, he admitted he had a memorable moment of excitement: “Kansas City had already gotten two corners, and I really wanted to go to Kansas City, so I was like, ‘Man.’ Then the call, I saw the Kansas City area code, me and my friend looked at each other, our eyes got super big, and they said, ‘This is the Chiefs,’ and I was just so excited I just started running full speed down the street. Everyone in the house saw me and they were like, ‘What’s wrong, what’s wrong, who is it?’ I was like, ‘It’s the Chiefs!'”

Back in preseason, Watson said he wanted to go the Chiefs because of the team’s emphasis on press man coverage and the team’s success. Now Watson hopes to keep the winning culture already in place in KC: “We’re not gonna lose much here I don’t believe.” And boy was he right. Did he see himself making such a big impact by Week 2? Only he knows the question to that.