NFL star shows up to training camp with drastic new look

For NFL players, going to training camp is sort of like the professional football version of going back to school. And every year when you’d get back to the cafeteria and see all your classmates again, there would always be at least one kid who showed up with a completely different look. This year, it’s Sammy Watkins of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Watkins is known for his amazing dreads. He’s had them for over a decade, and they’re pretty much his trademark. But on Wednesday, this is who reported to camp, claiming he was Sammy Watkins.

It was actually Sammy Watkins, of course, but dreads-free. Without them, he’s nearly unrecognizable. Even his teammate Travis Kelce didn’t know who he was at first, as he told the Kansas City Star.

“I definitely had to give him a second look, for sure,” tight end Travis Kelce said. “It’s fitting though. He’s a high-character guy, and he just comes in and he goes to work.”

Watkins told Brooke Pryor of the Star how he decided to cut off his dreads.

It was 3 a.m., and Sammy Watkins was wide awake.

Two weeks before he was set to report to his first Chiefs training camp, the wide receiver knew it was time for a change.

So in the middle of the night, he took a pair of clippers and went to work, shearing off the dreads he’d worn for over a decade.

“Kind of just wanted to be different this season and just be about business,” Watkins said. “I’ve had them for 12, 13 years. I’m 25 now. I don’t want to be 40 with dreads. I just decided to cut it.”

Well, he had 15 more years to cut off his dreads before he’d turn 40, but it seems like once he got the idea in his head, he couldn’t shake it. It takes some guts to just grab a pair of scissors and change the hair you’ve had for 13 years. But Watkins did it without hesitation.

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Sammy Watkins through the years
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Sammy Watkins through the years
CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tiger against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tiger against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 8: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers looks on during the game against the Boston College Eagles at Memorial Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. Clemson won 36-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 28: Sammy Watkins of the Clemson Tigers warms up prior to the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Memorial Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 12: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers greets fans during the Tigerwalk prior to the game against the Boston College Eagles at Memorial Stadium on October 12, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 23: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers catches a pass during the game against the Citadel Bulldogs at Memorial Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 03: (L-R) Sammy Watkins #2, head coach Dabo Swinney and Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers celebrate after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Clemson defeated Ohio State 40-35. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Sammy Watkins of the Clemson Tigers poses with a jersey after he was picked #4 overall by the Buffalo Bills during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
22 July 2014: Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) signs autographs for fans during a practice session of Bills training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, NY. (Photo by Kellen Micah/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 08: Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on August 8, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Buffalo won 20-18. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 28: Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills works out on the field prior to the start of their game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 7: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills walks off the field after a Denver Broncos interception during the third quarter at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on December 7, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bills 24-17. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 3: Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills watches the pregame warmups prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions during the preseason game on September 3, 2015 at Ford Field Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates his touchdown reception during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 11, 2016 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. Pittsburgh defeats Buffalo 27-20. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 19: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Los Angeles Rams looks on during pregame warm ups prior to playing the Oakland Raiders in an NFL preseason football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 19, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 05: Sammy Watkins #12 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates scoring a touchdown against the New York Giants in the second quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 5, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 15: Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins #12 of the Los Angeles Rams on the sidelines before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 15, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Rams defeated the Jaguars 27 to 17. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24: Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins #12 of the Los Angeles Rams carries the ball against the Tennessee Titians at Nissan Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 05: Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Sammy Watkins (12) long hair prior to the National Football League game between the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams on November 5, 2017, at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 07: Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) during Organized Team Activities on June 7, 2018 at the Kansas City Chiefs Training Facility in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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As Watkins said, he wants to be all “business” this season. He’s focusing on living up to the three-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Chiefs this offseason. And Andy Reid thinks he’s off to a great start.

“He’s all business,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “I love the way he goes about it. A true pro.”

If this turns into a big year for Watkins and the Chiefs, we can say that it all started with a 3am haircut.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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