Last year, at J.J. Watt's charity softball game, the fourth annual game and the first at Minute Maid Park, tackle Duane Brown did not play because he was still rehabbing the ruptured quad that ended his 2015 season. However, Brown was at the game, and moving around in a pretty spry fashion when clowning with teammates before the game along the foul territory areas.
So the following Monday, I came into the studio and proclaimed on my radio show that Brown was going to make it all the way back from the devastating injury he'd sustained, based solely on eyeballing his movements at a charity softball game. My cohosts made fun of me and reminded me I'm not a doctor, but who had the last laugh on that one?
ME, THAT'S WHO!
Brown came back after the first five weeks of the season and put together his best three months of football that he's played since Bill O'Brien arrived in Houston in 2014. My point is that I am as good an "eyeball from afar" doctor as there is, and I am here, after J.J. Watt's performance in the FIFTH annual J.J. Watt Charity Classic, to make a similar proclamation this year — J.J. Watt is all the way back, and is going to have a monster 2017 campaign.
Where is this confidence coming from? How can I tell that his surgically repaired back is ready enough for him to partake in what amounts to about 70 snaps worth of bear wrestling every Sunday? It's quite simple — he destroyed in the home run hitting contest! He actually won it, beating Shane Lechler, who is like the 2008 Josh Hamilton of slow pitch softball home run derby.
Here was the contest winner...
And here is J.J. peppering poor David Nuno of Channel 13 with incoming softball bombs while Nuno was live reporting from the Crawford Boxes....
Even after he won the home run derby, Watt wasn't finished, smacking another home run in the actual softball game (which most seasons is "offense versus defense," but this year was "offense versus defense-plus-Andre Johnson) to lead the defense-plus-Andre Johnson to a 9-3 victory.
Tonight's lineups for JJ Watt softball classic. Aside from Arnold Schwarzenegger making an appearance, JJ tells me Ric Flair will be too. pic.twitter.com/zEZHVbVoDq— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) May 13, 2017
The event raises money for the J.J. Watt Foundation, which provides financial resources for middle schools to purchase sports equipment for after school activities. The foundation has raised over $3 million, plus whatever was raised at Saturday night's festivities.
Honestly, if you're a Texan fan, about the only REALLY scary moment was when the team did their annual mini-hazing of rookies, and they had future franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson create a cheeseburger with future feature running back D'Onta Foreman....
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Please, don't ever do this again, Deshaun. Ever.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.