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J.J. Watt’s Retirement marks the End of an Era

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

On Sunday, January 8, Justin James Watt, also known as J.J. Watt, played in the final game of his NFL career.

Watt is a former football defensive end who played for the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals. The Texans drafted Watt in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. He played college football at Central Michigan and Wisconsin.

In his 12 years in the NFL, Watt was a five-time All-Pro defensive end and was named to the Pro Bowl first-team five times. He also was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and won the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. It was no surprise that he won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award because he wanted to raise $200,000 for the people in Houston who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, but he ended up raising $37 million which was incredible.

Watt currently holds two NFL records: Seasons with 20+ sacks (2) and seasons leading the league in sacks (2).

Here are some of J.J Watt’s career NFL statistics:

Total tackles: 586

Sacks: 114.5

Pass deflections: 70

Forced fumbles: 27

Fumble recoveries: 17

J.J. Watt has two brothers, T.J. Watt and Derek Watt, who both play for NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. J.J. has a family of his own with his wife, Kealia Watt, and their son, Koa James Watt, who was born in October.

The 33-year-old announced his retirement via Twitter on December 27. His last game was against the San Francisco 49ers as the Cardinals lost, 38-13. Watt had a two-sack performance during his final game. The star defender received a standing ovation from the fans in Santa Clara.

Photo by: Ross D. Franklin

After the game, he said, “I know I still can (play), I’m just choosing not to.”

Watt has gone through plenty of injuries, which might have been part of the reason for his retirement. Some of the injuries include elbow dislocation, finger dislocation, hand fracture, back vertebral disc hernia, tibial plateau fracture, pectoral tear, shoulder dislocation, and most recently, atrial fibrillation.

Watt kept believing in himself, kept fighting, and never gave up which makes him so inspiring. He not only has great achievements in football but he is constantly making a difference in the lives of others. For upcoming football players, they look at Watt’s versatility. He has a lot of natural abilities like speed and agility which is why he is such a great defensive end.

Watt has had an incredibly successful career that will be remembered for many years. He is a great leader and a better role model for younger players. Photo by: Charles LeClaire

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