J.J. Watt’s retirement has NFL community remembering his achievements
J.J. Watt’s NFL career will end after his 12th season concludes Jan. 8 with a visit to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Arizona Cardinals defensive end, who spent the first decade of his NFL career with the Houston Texans, announced Tuesday that the 2022 regular season would be his last.
With two games to go, he has 111.5 sacks, 580 tackles, 313 quarterback hits and 27 forced fumbles on his resume. The former college tight end at Central Michigan and walk-on at Wisconsin also has three receiving touchdowns as a pro.
The football world reacted to Watt’s social media announcement that said his son’s first game attended on Christmas would be the defensive end’s last NFL home game.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt gave his big brother a salute on social media.
— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) December 27, 2022
— Steelers Depot 7⃣🎄🎅 (@Steelersdepot) December 27, 2022
Media personalities who worked with Watt in the Cardinals’ building and those who admired his tape from afar also gave the defensive end a farewell.
While the 33-year-old Watt put together quite a stellar final season — he arguably had a case to be a Pro Bowler — a strong stretch from 2012-2015 put him in the Hall of Fame regardless of the injuries that plagued him in the following years.
One of the best to ever do it 👏👏
First ballot HOF
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) December 27, 2022
It’s been an honor to call your games the last couple years!
— Dave Pasch (@DavePasch) December 27, 2022
Man I just emailed @greggrosenthal yesterday saying I thought he should have JJ Watt ranked high on his list of free agents bc he was still playing so well. Always cool when your last memory of watching an elite player is thinking: Damn, he’s still got it.
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) December 27, 2022
Injuries robbed us of a big chunk of the peak of JJ Watt's career and he was STILL a Hall of Famer – that's how good he was.
Moved from an interior lineman to an elite edge and back again over his career.
Still owns the record for most pressures in a single season (119)
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) December 27, 2022
JJ Watt's run from 2012-15 is insane:
'12: 20.5 sacks, 39 TFL, 25 QB hits, 4 FF, 16 PD
'13: 10.5 sacks, 22 TFL, 36 QB hits, 4 FF, 7 PD
'14: 20.5 sacks, 29 TFL, 44 QB hits, 4 FF, 10 PD
'15: 17.5 sacks, 29 TFL, 34 QB hits, 3 FF, 8 PD
4x Pro Bowl
4x All Pro
In 4 years.
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) December 27, 2022
J.J. Watt’s 2014 season is one for the record books:
▫️20.5 sacks (led the NFL)
▫️29 tackles for loss (led the NFL)
▫️4 FF, 5 fumbles recovered, 1 returned for a TD
▫️1 INT returned for an 80-yard TD
▫️NFL DPOY and All Pro
▫️And 3 TD *catches* pic.twitter.com/zZvtPJ0EVx
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 27, 2022
Watt’s efforts off the field rivaled his production on it.
Five years ago, in the days following Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, I went to Houston to witness @JJWatt’s fundraising efforts. He helped raise more than $37 million, changing my perspective on the impact athletes can make. His legacy extends beyond the field. Our interview: pic.twitter.com/EUwWOLG3QT
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) December 27, 2022
I remember him looking at them & saying, "I have a game I have to get ready for at some point guys." The opener was days away. But Watt also realized the more he appeared publicly promoting his relief fund the more people would donate. More money & supplies would come (2/3)
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) December 27, 2022
An impactful career, on and off the field.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 27, 2022
Former pro athletes like long-time MLB pitcher C.C. Sabathia, quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Emmanuel Acho gave Watt his respect.
Former Texans cornerback Charles James II thanked Watt for making his own life easier as well.
You snuck in retirement I see what you did there….it was an honor to play with you bro. You made life a lot easier on the backend for all of us… by far the greatest defensive player I ever played with…enjoy retirement Legend 🐐 https://t.co/41ngPkxeaI
— Charles James II (@CJDeuce_) December 27, 2022
One of the most dominant defensive players ever!! Loved watching you play every Sunday. Congrats on an incredible career and welcome to a new chapter 🙏🏾 https://t.co/HFzzU5cBj9
— CC Sabathia (@CC_Sabathia) December 27, 2022
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) December 27, 2022
Congratulations on an amazing career! 👊
— Matt Cassel (@M_Cassel16) December 27, 2022
Also, there were tons of highlights in there:
What an incredible career @JJWatt 👏
💪 3x DPOY
💪 5x First-team All-Pro
💪 2x NFL sacks leader
💪 5x Pro Bowl selection
💪 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
— NFL On Prime Video (@NFLonPrime) December 27, 2022
The 2014 season from JJ Watt was something else 🤯
20.5 sacks, 29 TFL, 51 QB hits — AND 5 TDs!
Enjoy retirement, @JJWatt
— Gridiron (@Gridiron) December 27, 2022
JJ Watt playing tight end for Central Michigan against Clemson in 2007. pic.twitter.com/vAJQrniacy
— Austin Pendergist (@apthirteen) December 27, 2022
— Rockets Capital 🚀 (@Rocketscapital1) December 27, 2022