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Three things to know about Menelik Watson

1. Football and Footy

Watson's UK background means he's heavily invested in the other football. And while his NFL allegiances have changed, his Premier League ties remain as strong as ever.

"Everybody who knows me knows it's Manchester City. That's my boys. I've been a 'Blue' since I can remember. They're doing pretty well. Sitting in the top four, trying to make the Champions League. I don't think we'll win the league this year, but we're doing pretty well. I got a chance to check out some games when I was home. That is always exciting."

His time playing soccer as a kid led directly to his transition across the pond later in life, he said.

"It helped a lot," Watson said. "I did a lot of things growing up as a kid. I was very active. Soccer, basketball, it just helped a lot. As a kid, I was a visual learner. I used to watch a lot of footwork. If someone was teaching me something, the first thing I do is watch the feet. Now when you go into football and I step onto the field, I'm an offensive lineman, a position that is unique in the technique that is not mimicked in anyway in any other sport.

"Which 300-pound man has to backpedal and stop another 300-pound man coming full speed? You've got to trust your feet. It's a big thing. When I was learning the sport, I was just observing the technique to pick it up quicker. Playing offensive line is a lot easier to juggling a soccer ball. It helped tremendously just building me as an athlete."

2. A (Kyle) Long shot

If not for former Chicago Bear Kyle Long, Watson may never have played professional football. Back when Watson was first learning the game, Long convinced him to go to Saddleback College. Watson had previously been at Marist College to play basketball, but he was ultimately too short to play power forward. When he showed up at Saddleback, Long took him under his wing. And for Watson, who had to learn how to put on a girdle and other parts of the uniform for the first time, Long was also instrumental in deciding which position he'd ultimately play.

After a day of struggling at defensive pursuit drills, Watson was stopped by Long as the two walked off the field.

"He was the one who convinced me to go there," Watson said, "and I remember walking off the first day, he was like, 'Come on offense tomorrow; it's easier.' I was like, 'All right.' So I went to the head coach and said, 'Hey, coach, can I try offense?' And he was like, 'Yeah, sure.' So I went over there."

As simple as that.

As for Long's advice to Watson about being an offensive lineman?

"The quarterback's the basket," Long told Watson. "Don't let them get to the basket."

3. What's in a nickname?

In Oakland, Watson had the nickname "Lennox" after three-time world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Watson couldn't help but laugh when asked about the nickname at his media availability on Friday.

"When you throw your hands a lot, they want to compare you to somebody. I think I was a bit more fluid than Lennox [Lewis] though. I think I got a bit more of the jab on me."

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