(WHTM) — Ricky Watters was one of the first great NFL players to come out of Harrisburg, setting the example for many to follow. The Super Bowl Champion sits down with The Sports Extra Podcast this week to reflect on his Bishop McDevitt career, winning a National Championship with Notre Dame, and his record-setting five touchdown playoff game.

On this week’s episode of The Sports Extra Podcast, the five-time Pro Bowl running back also shares how Harrisburg shaped him and the work he is doing to advocate for players’ mental and physical health after they retire.

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Ricky Watters

Watters put Harrisburg on the map after a successful four-year career at quarterback for the Bishop McDevitt Crusaders.

Lou Holtz, then-new head coach of Notre Dame, recruited Watters to play for the Fighting Irish. In 1987, he was a backup running back, with limited playing time.

In 1988, he switched to wide receiver, replacing Heisman winner Tim Brown. That season, Watters led the team in receptions and won the National Championship. He moved back to running back the next season.

Watters was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1991 NFL Draft in the second young (45th overall). In 1992, he rushed for 1,013 yards and nine touchdowns in his first real season of action.

He emerged as a dual-threat running back/receiver as he career progressed.

In 1992 and 1993, Watters was apart of the Niners teams that lost two years-in-a-row to the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game. In 1994, the 49ers exacted their revenge in the NFC Championship on their way to a Super Bowl Championship.

In that 1994 playoff run, Watters set an NFL postseason record with five rushing touchdowns against the Giants in the divisional round. In the Super Bowl 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers, Watters scored three touchdowns, tying a Super Bowl record with Jerry Rice, Roger Craig and later Terrell Davis.

In 1995, Watters joined the Eagles as a free agent. In his three seasons in Philadelphia, he started every game and had 3,794 rushing yards on 975 carries and 31 rushing touchdowns.

In 1998, Watters played for the Seahawks until his retirement in 2001.

In his NFL career, Watters recorded 10,643 rushing yards and 4,248 receiving yards with a total of 91 touchdowns in the regular season. Watters had over 1,000 rushing yards in seven of his ten seasons. ESPN’s Chris Berman nicknamed him Ricky “Running” Watters for his signature running style.

Watters, now, lives with his family in California. Along with his wife Catherina and a team, Watters founded IMPACT WELLNESS “with a shared vision of providing a better, more holistic approach to managing pain, anxiety and depression”.”

After experiencing the toll on his body for an NFL running back, Watters said he “had no idea all those injuries would impact him for the rest of his life.” That’s what encouraged him to pursue a career in health and wellness.

Also in the episode

Less than wild Wild Card Weekend: The podcast breaks down the terrible ending for the Eagles and Steelers in Super Wild Card Weekend. Was adding the extra Wild Card spots worth it if the games would be this lopsided?

Quarterback controversy: After a lackluster Wild Card performance, Eagles fans wonder if Jalen Hurts should remain the starter? Or do the Birds need to pursue a new option at QB1?

Pitiful prospects in Pittsburgh: With Big Ben expected to retire this offseason, who do the Steelers have to play quarterback? Did Mike Tomlin and co. shoot themselves in the foot with no backup plan at QB with a Super Bowl caliber defense?

Speaking of the Super Bowl… who left has the best path to win this season? Can Aaron Rodgers give Green Bay a goodbye gift shaped like a Lombardi trophy? Are Watters’ Niners good enough to make a run at the title? Can anyone in the AFC contend?


Meet the voices behind the podcast: Allie Berube and Logan Reever. The Sports Extra Podcast is designed to bring listeners closer to the games, teams, and athletes they love. The podcast will dive deeper than the hosts can go on TV.

The Sports Extra Podcast releases episodes every Thursday. The goal is to talk about national sports with a local flair. Allie & Logan bring guests on each week to share their perspectives on sports.

You can catch The Sports Extra Podcast presented by abc27 each week. The team drops new episodes every Thursday. Listen wherever you get your podcasts or right here on abc27.com.