New England Patriots tight end Ben Watson has only been on the team a few weeks, but thinks he is already a team leader because of his age. With Tom Brady not participating in organized team activities, Watson is the oldest player on the field doing drills.

Watson knows because he is an older player that is expected to be a leader in the locker room. He also understands that being a leader in the locker room and being a leader on the field are two different things.

“I think I have a leadership role, period, in our locker room because I’m 38 years old. That’s just what comes when you’re an older player,” Watson said via Pro Football Talk. “Now, what happens in the locker room and what happens on the field are two totally different things.”

“On the field, this is the ultimate meritocracy. It’s about learning what to do, being consistent making plays, all the things I learned as a rookie. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done somewhere else, what you did last year or throughout your career. It’s all about how you perform every day in practice. . . . I do consider myself a leader from a life standpoint, talking to the younger guys, but as far as production on the field, that’s something that’s earned.”

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Last season with the New Orleans Saints, Watson hauled in 35 receptions for 400 yards and two touchdowns. The year before with the Baltimore Ravens he had 522 yards and four touchdowns. He has proven that he can still get it done on the field and with Rob Gronkowski not on the Patriots anymore, he is going to be counted on in a big way.

Being a leader in the locker room is important, but what the Patriots need is production from the tight end position, and they hope Watson can provide that.