Sean Pendergast

J.J. Watt Announces His NFL Retirement on Twitter

J.J. Watt announced his retirement after the season on Tuesday morning.
J.J. Watt announced his retirement after the season on Tuesday morning. Photo by Eric Sauseda
When J.J. Watt was at the peak of his powers, from 2012 through 2015, it was hard to even imagine the day that he would announce his retirement, or what might precipitate it. When he was busy wrapping up a fifth straight season in which he played EVERY game, three of those seasons ending with the award for the best defensive player on the planet, it seemed boredom might be the only thing that could cause Watt to step away.

Surely, it wouldn't be injury, because he was immortal, and surely it wouldn't be a dip on the quality of his play, because, again, IMMORTAL. Unfortunately, the next few seasons revealed that Watt was indeed human, with injuries piling up. Somewhere in there, he snuck in another first team All Pro season in 2018, but eventually he left for Arizona after 2020.

SO we were left here in Houston to wonder (a) what might have been had Bill O'Brien not ruined the franchise, and (b) what would Watt's retirement look like. On Tuesday, we got our answer. The retirement came in a tweet announcing that Christmas Day was his final home game of his career:
Watt will talk in further detail about this decision at some point. Obviously, being a new father probably plays into things, and while Watt was still a very productive player, he was never destined to slide into being some faceless, rotational piece on someone's defensive line to wind down his career. He was going to go out as close to on top individually as humanly possible, particularly for someone whose body has been torn down and put back together again via a few dozen surgical procedures.

Summing up J.J. Watt the player is actually fairly easy. It takes a long time to read through the list of accolades, because his resume, and burst of superstardom on the field, is about as impressive as any in football history. In fact, Field Yates of did the legwork. Here you go:
Summing up everything else — Watt the person, Watt the Houstonian, Watt the philanthropist —- that takes more time, and deserves more space (and will receive that space here in the coming days). For now, Watt takes his place as one of the greatest Houston athletes of all time, a sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer (2028 is the first year he will be eligible.), and one of the most philanthropic human beings in our city's history.

Salute to you, J.J. Watt! A true all timer. Enjoy retirement. You earned it.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast