Tempe, Ariz. ( Associated Press) – JJ Watt has always had a special affinity for the common man, even though he’s more like Superman.
So it was only fitting that one of the funniest anecdotes of the press conference regarding the retirement of one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history was headlined by little-known teammate Jesse Lucata of the Arizona Cardinals.
“It’s the best story ever,” Watt said Wednesday.
The three-time Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year posted on social media Tuesday that he intended to retire at the end of the season, which Watt knew would bring well wishes and messages from friends and teammates. So she put away her phone, took her newborn son to his regular pediatrician, and returned a few hours later to check his messages.
At the same time he received a strange video message from a number he did not recognise. Then she got a voicemail from the same number, with a man slurring his words and saying things that Watt could not understand.
What is this? Thought wat.
Then a picture appeared. It was Luketa. He had cotton in his mouth and was in a state of unconsciousness. It was learned that the miscreant had got his wisdom teeth pulled out that morning. He was informed when he awoke that Watt was retiring and wanted to know if the future Hall of Famer would give him his jersey.
“I died laughing,” Watt said.
That story was a showcase that made the 33-year-old Watt a beloved player and teammate for a decade with the Houston Texans and two years with the Cardinals. Yes, his 111 1/2 sacks are impressive. as well as his 193 tackles for loss. But he will be equally remembered for his personality, his love for the game and his love for the people.
Before every home game this season, Watt could be seen playing catch with the kids in the stands, a blast like no one else in the stadium did. He was one of the most beloved athletes during his 10 years in Texas and raised over $40 million to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, earning him the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
Watt said he never tried to lose sight of the fact that he was playing a game that was made possible by many people.
“It really is the best job in the world,” Watt said. “We chase a little ball, I can knock people down. Incredible!”
“What more could you want? On top of that, I get paid to do this.”