Tempe, Ariz. ( Associated Press) – JJ Watt could be a terrifying presence on the football field, a rarely seen opposing quarterback, especially in 2010 with the Houston Texans.
In contrast, Watt was a fan favourite, with whom he was friendly. I used to throw a few touchline passes to the guys in the stands before games.
Now, one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history looks set to call it quits.
Named three-time Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press, Watt announced Tuesday that he would retire at the end of the season. The 6-foot-5, 288-pound (1.95-meter, 130-kilogram) defensive end posted pictures of his wife and baby Koa on social media.
“It was KOA’s first NFL game and my last home game. My heart is only filled with love and gratitude,” she wrote. “It has been an absolute honor and pleasure.”
The Cardinals defensive lineman and his wife, Kelia, became parents in October
Watt, 33, was one of the NFL’s top defensive players in the early 2010s with the Houston Texans. After a stellar college career with Wisconsin, he was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft, and was dominant from 2012–15.
He finished the four-year stretch with a staggering 69 sacks to pick up all three of his Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Although he looked solid since his rookie season, it was not until 2012 that he became a star, with 20 1/2 sacks and one tackle for loss for 39 yardage. Its production decreased slightly in 2013 before two other major campaigns.
He racked up 20½ sacks in 2014 as well as 17½ in 2015.
His numbers deteriorated in the latter part of his career due to injuries. He missed large parts of the 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021 seasons, but his career was revived with the Cardinals — his 9 1/2 sacks this season are his best stat since 2018.
Watt spent his first 10 seasons with the Texans. He departs in 2021 as the most loved man in the city’s sporting history. His community outreach initiative was unique. Raised over $40 million to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Sports Radio 610, Texas’s premier radio station, sets up a hotline to receive farewell messages for Watt. He then tweeted selected calls from the 30-minute archive.
Watt set Texans records for sacks (101), tackles for loss (172), quarterback hits (281) and fumbles (25).
The Cardinals and Watt have two games left in this season, both on the road, against Atlanta and San Francisco.
Associated Press Writer Christy Rieken contributed to this report from Houston.