Community activist Anthony Thomas and the Town of Fort Myers have sought to return the honor where it was needed by renaming two streets in the community of Dunbar after Town Heroes and Super Bowl Champions Jaylen and Sammy Watkins.
However, as the Watkins brothers agreed on Saturday in a ceremony where the streets they grew up on were named in their honor, it is perhaps more important that the road signs serve as a symbol for the city’s youth than anything is possible with hard work.
“Their legacy is the dreams they inspire every day,” said family friend Matt Booth, who has coached and coached South Fort Myers high school legend Sammy Watkins and Jaylen Watkins. , the former star of Cape Coral.
The ceremony officially changed American Avenue to Sammy Watkins Boulevard and Dupree Street to Jaylen Watkins Street. The event held at the intersection of the two streets brought together Watkins families as well as City Council members Teresa Watkins-Brown and Terolyn Watson, former Mayor Randy Henderson and new City Manager Marty Lawing, among others.
Thomas was noticeably absent, who lobbied to rename the streets to honor Sammy and Jaylen’s achievements in the field and their leadership in the community. Thomas is undergoing cancer treatment at Gulf Coast Medical Center.
Watkins-Brown said she and Thomas were in agreement on why Saturday’s ceremony was to take place.
“You could have gone to other areas to settle down, but you came home to give back,” Watkins-Brown told the Watkins brothers sitting behind her.
Sammy was an All-American wide receiver at Clemson University before spending the last seven seasons in the NFL.
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Prior to signing with the Baltimore Ravens in the offseason, Sammy was a catalyst in leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl championship in the 2019-20 season.
Sammy recorded a performance of 7 catches, 114 yards to go with one touchdown in the AFC championship that season and five receptions for 98 yards in the Super Bowl, including beating 49ers Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman 1 on 1 on the field for a 38-yard catch that set up the go-ahead touchdown. Last season, the Chiefs made a comeback to the Super Bowl where they fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jaylen Watkins was a remarkable quarterback at Cape Coral before moving to high school at the University of Florida. A fourth-round pick for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, he played for seasons with the Eagles, helping the team win their first title in 2018, followed by two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers.
“It brings back a lot of memories to me,” Sammy said, looking at Sammy Watkins Boulevard.
Booth painted a picture of two young children who charted their dreams of playing professional football. That was not all, as they promised to come back and help their community once they were established.
Booth had heard exactly these things before, and it was mostly just conversation. For Sammy and Jaylen, it was a promise.
“They showed up and lived their dreams,” Booth said. “… Every time you walk these roads it’s not about their football history.”
Jaylen emphasized the importance of setting an example for young people in the community and empowering them to succeed.
“Being able to accomplish what we have and everything that goes with it has been a blessing,” Jaylen said. “… It’s always good to give back to the community. “
The Watkins brothers along with former North Fort Myers and Carolina Panthers safety Trey Boston are teaming up to bring a premium training facility to Fort Myers that Jaylen expects to be completed by Christmas.
“We’re just getting started,” Sammy said. “We have a lot more to give. “