Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt announced Tuesday that he will be retiring from the NFL after the present season.
Watt’s announcement came two days after the Cardinals played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Christmas Day in a game that the Buccaneers won 16-13 in overtime. Watt recorded a season-high six tackles.
“Koa’s first ever NFL game. My last ever NFL home game,” Watt wrote in a Tuesday post on Twitter, referring to his son.
Koa’s first ever NFL game.
My last ever NFL home game.
My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) December 27, 2022
“My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure,” Watt added.
Watt’s last two games are slated to be against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 8.
He has logged 33 tackles and 9.5 sacks in 14 games this season.
In October, Watt revealed that his heart had gone into atrial fibrillation, requiring it to be shocked back into rhythm, Fox News reported.
After a 12-year NFL career, Watt will retire as a three-time Defensive Player of the Year with five first-team All-Pro honors and five Pro Bowl nods, according to NFL.com.
Since 1982, Watt is the only player to record more than 20 sacks in multiple seasons, logging 20.5 in 2012 and 2014. Watt is also one of three players with over 100 sacks and six touchdowns since 1982.
Watt spent the first 10 years of his career playing for the Houston Texans. His last season will be his second with the Cardinals.
“J.J. Watt played better in his last year than I did in my prime. Congrats on an amazing career,” tweeted former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and sports broadcaster Cris Collinsworth.
“Great respect for JJ Watt’s body of work both on the field and off. A total class act. Well done brother!” CBS Sports analyst Rich Gannon wrote.
“One of the greatest ambassadors – and players – the NFL has ever seen. He’ll be missed, but congratulations on a legendary career,” wrote NFL Network’s Omar Ruiz.
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