Koa’s first ever NFL sport.
My final ever NFL dwelling sport.
My coronary heart is full of nothing however love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) December 27, 2022
Over 12 NFL seasons, together with his first 10 with the Houston Texans, Watt was probably the most disruptive defensive power within the league at occasions, incomes defensive participant of the yr honors in 2012, 2014 and 2015. A five-time Professional Bowl honoree, he twice led the league in sacks and was a unanimous choice to the NFL’s 2010s all-decade group.
Watt, 33, started his school profession as a decent finish at Central Michigan in 2007 earlier than he walked on at Wisconsin the next yr and have become the Badgers’ defensive scout group participant of the yr throughout his redshirt season in 2008. He developed into an all-American defensive finish and was taken by the Texans with the eleventh choose within the 2011 NFL draft.
In Houston, Watt established himself as a surefire future Corridor of Famer on the sphere and one of many league’s most recognizable figures off it.
Watt posted staggering numbers throughout his first 5 seasons, enjoying each sport and changing into one of many NFL’s most feared defensive gamers. He tallied 20.5 sacks in simply his second season in 2012, then matched that complete in 2014, changing into the primary participant to cross the 20-sack threshold twice. Throughout the 2014 season, Watt added 4 pressured fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries and an 80-yard interception return for a landing in opposition to the Buffalo Payments.
He had a league-leading 17.5 sacks the next yr in 2015 regardless of battling a groin harm and a fractured hand, and he has constantly fought by accidents since then. The following yr, a pair of again surgical procedures bookended — and finally ended — his 2016 marketing campaign after three video games. A damaged leg nixed his 2017 season after 5 video games, and a pectoral tear restricted him to eight video games in 2019.
All through that point, Watt turned an iconic determine in Houston.
He made impromptu dwelling, hospital and hearth home visits bearing autographed jerseys. In 2013, he “proposed” to a younger fan at NRG Stadium with a Ring Pop. And he welcomed trick or treaters at his dwelling till his fame made the follow unsustainable. In 2020, he married former Houston Sprint soccer star Kealia Ohai.
Most notably, after Hurricane Harvey ravaged town in 2017, Watt got down to elevate $200,000 to help restoration efforts. He in the end raised greater than $41 million.
These contributions made his 2021 departure all of the extra bitter for some Texans followers after he was minimize by the group that February at his request.
Watt performed seven video games throughout his debut season with the Cardinals final yr earlier than present process season-ending shoulder surgical procedure. To that time, Watt had not tallied greater than 5 sacks in a season since 2018.
This season, nonetheless, Watt leads the Cardinals with 9.5 sacks and is tied for twelfth within the NFL. It’s a determine that pales compared to a few of his greatest years but represents a resurgence within the face of Arizona’s poor play. The Cardinals have been eradicated from playoff competition this month, however Watt has an opportunity so as to add to his 111.5 profession sacks with two video games left. He can even add to his profession totals in pressured fumbles (27) and fumble recoveries (17).
This season has not been with out its private challenges for Watt. After experiencing atrial fibrillation on Sept. 28, Watt had his coronary heart shocked again in rhythm. Three days later, he performed in opposition to the Carolina Panthers. The week after that, he discovered his strategy to the quarterback in opposition to the Philadelphia Eagles.