HAMILTON — Spencer Watt is a man on a mission.
The 27-year-old Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver wants to prove that he’s fully recovered from a ruptured achilles that caused him to miss the entire 2015 season.
He’s putting the CFL on notice.
“I really want to make a statement to show that my achilles hasn’t bothered me,” said Watt, at Ron Joyce Stadium on the campus of McMaster University. “Show that I can come back from a serious injury like that to show that I’m here to stay.”
While confident now, Watt initially had doubts about how well he would recover.
“Basically, am I done [with] football?” Watt said was a thought that crept into his mind upon reflecting on the injury. “The main thing that was going through my mind [was], ‘Is Hamilton going to release me? Will I have another shot at another team? Or even keep on playing?'”
The tear in his tendon, which the seventh-year player says was a freak accident, occurred while he was training in the off-season.
“It was just that extra play that I should have taken off and I guess it was just fatigue,” Watt said. “I’ve had injuries, nicks and bruises, surgeries, but nothing like an achilles rupture. And to get over that was tough mentally, not just physically.”
Although wearing a knee brace during practice— the wideout says it’s simply for prevention against a previous injury— overall, he feels good, which head coach Kent Austin agrees with.
“Spencer’s been doing well,” Austin said. “He’s smart, he’s a veteran, he’s coming off his injury, but I think he’s doing really well.
“He’s moving well. He had to get back into it [running]. Get used to running a lot because you do that in this league as a receiver, but he’s a real pro.”
Now that he’s recovered, Watt is highly looking forward to playing against his former team the Toronto Argonauts, a club he spent the first five years of his career with.
“I could care less about Toronto. I’m black and gold,” said Watt. “When I got signed to Hamilton, I wanted to play Toronto and to show that they let go a solid player.”
The Tiger-Cats and Argonauts will meet for the first time this season on June 11 at BMO Field, in week one of the preseason, and despite not having played a game in over a year, Watt doesn’t expect to be nervous that day.
“If I am, it will probably take one or two plays to get back into it. All I need is either a catch or to get smacked in the mouth and I’ll be back at it. It’s like riding a bike.”
Follow Tristan on Twitter @_tgarnett