J.J. Watt on mission to further connect fans, Arizona Cardinals

Apr 20, 2022, 4:04 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2022, 7:28 am
J.J. Watt #99 of the Arizona Cardinals walks the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks...
J.J. Watt #99 of the Arizona Cardinals walks the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

When Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt arrived to the desert in 2021, the surprise signing sent shockwaves throughout the state.

But instead of getting a full offseason to better get to know his surroundings and the people in them, Watt was stuck behind COVID-19 protocols.

Building that new relationship with the fanbase and getting a real sense of the area was that much more difficult for the new Cardinal.

It didn’t stop Watt from attending Phoenix Suns and Mercury games as well as take in some of the local golf courses, among other things.

Still, it wasn’t quite the welcome-to-Arizona vibes Watt was looking for.

So when the protocols were finally lifted and a nearly normal offseason can be had once more, Watt took it upon himself to get fully engulfed in all things Arizona.

It’s much more than just taking in the sights for the lineman, who is focused on further connecting the franchise and its fans.

“All of the different aspects that Arizona has to offer and the people, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know it,” Watt said Tuesday. “I’ve still only been here for a year, so I’m in the young stages of it but I’ve enjoyed it very much and I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is building that relationship between the team and the fanbase because I know that since I got here obviously we were in COVID times.”

“I want to be able to feel like we’re all pulling in the same direction. On gameday, I want that place to feel like it’s one family all working towards the same goal of getting a win. I really want our guys and our fans to all be on the same page. I think the best way to do that is to be out there … in the community, to be meeting the fans, to feel like we’re all connected. I know it’s easier said than done but that’s what makes places special and that’s what makes seasons special. So we’re looking forward to building that.”

Since getting the green light to get back out there, Watt has stayed busy, whether it’s spending time in Sedona or taking a trip to a local dive bar to hang with Arizonans.

But while the reception Watt has received since taking on his offseason initiative has made strides in connecting him with fans from around the state, the same can’t be said for the lineman’s golf game.

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