Sean Pendergast

After Retirement From NFL, What's Next for J.J. Watt?

J.J. Watt will have plenty of options if he chooses to work after his NFL retirement.
J.J. Watt will have plenty of options if he chooses to work after his NFL retirement. Photo by Eric Sauseda
While he may not make Houston his actual home anymore, most Houstonians still care deeply about J.J. Watt. He will always be one of our own, even if he is making his home these days in the city of the team he played just two seasons for in Arizona.

Watt retired several weeks ago, and if you're wondering how retirement is treating him, just know that he climbed Camelback Mountain this weekend in 46 minutes with a weighted backpack on his shoulders. So I'm not expecting him to grow a beer belly anytime soon.
The Super Bowl is in Watt's adopted hometown this week, so he is making the media rounds, talking to numerous outlets, including shows like The Dan Patrick Show:
In these interviews, his motivation for retiring is always one of the first questions, logically followed by "So what are the pains for the next chapter in the J.J. Watt saga?" In other words, how soon until you figure out your next gig. From just reading the tea leaves (as well as Watt's social media accounts), here is what I can gather the most likely and unlikely choices are for Watt's next chapter:

Three things J.J. Watt COULD do:

3. Get into acting
This is one of the betting favorites for Watt's next vocation. He's dabbled in some acting gigs in the offseason during his playing career, most notably a stellar appearance hosting Saturday Night Live back in February 2020, highlighted by this skit entitled "Robbie" spoofing the movie "Rudy":
2. Do a podcast
After seeing the success that many current and former athletes have had starting their own podcasts and creating content, Watt could probably pull in a  nice paycheck cranking out an episode or two per week of a WattCast of some sort, either with a host steering the ship for him, or perhaps with one (or both) of his brothers, a la Travis and Jason Kelce's highly successful "New Heights" podcast. Watt's rolodex would likely yield some amazing guests, and he himself is a very good conversationalist.

Obviously by "do nothing" I don't mean LITERALLY nothing. I don't think Watt is capable of just laying around all day, at least not for any extended period of time. By "do nothing," I mean "nothing that generates any income." In other words, he might just want to chill out, play with his son, hit the links, and climb Camelback Mountain all week long. Hell, he's earned it!

Three things J.J. Watt WON'T do:

3. Join DeMeco Ryans staff
I got this text message to my radio show quite a bit as we were leading up to DeMeco Ryans getting hired by the Houston Texans as the team's next head coach — "Whoa baby, I hope he hires J.J. to coach the defensive line!" These are clearly people hat don't realize that football coaches routinely put in 14 to 18 hour days during the season. Watt has been very public that he wants NO part of that lifestyle.

2. Go play again
While other retired greats have gotten the itch to come back and play after retiring — looking at you, Brady! — Watt seems like he is pretty content to call it a career. His body has taken a pounding through the years, with multiple back surgeries, a fractured tibial plateau, a torn pectoral muscle, and numerous other bumps and bruises. Watt ain't coming back.

1. Get into color commentary on actual games
For the record, I think Watt would make an outstanding broadcaster. He is funny, thoughtful, smart, has a wealth of experience, and the ladies really seem to dig him! Hell, a lot of men do, too! However, Watt has been public about this, as well — he doesn't feel like subjecting himself to the maniacal scrutiny that comes from social media when you crank out a few precautions gone wrong or stumble over a word or two.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and like him on Facebook at
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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