Hard Knocks catches J.J. Watt tearing up as Cardinals play retirement video

Jan 11, 2023, 8:18 AM




J.J. Watt’s NFL career ended Sunday following 10 years with the Houston Texans, two more with the Arizona Cardinals and easily enough accolades to land the defensive end in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first run.

Watt walks away as a 33-year-old and new father. Before his last game, a Cardinals loss to the San Francisco 49ers, defensive line coach Matt Burke had the idea to ask Watt’s peers, plus a few close family members, to speak to Watt in a team-produced video.

A teaser for the last episode of the Cardinals-featured Hard Knocks: In Season, which will air Wednesday night, showed how Watt reacted to that send-off video.

Watt’s brother, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt, led off the video, and J.J. didn’t make it past that point before breaking down.

His other brother, fullback Derek Watt, as well as his parents, wished Watt a happy retirement. A message from his wife, Kealia, holding their young son Koa caught Watt’s emotions, too.

Fellow future Hall of Famers Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady also made appearances in the video, which the Cardinals posted in full earlier in the week.

Watt heads into retirement with quite the resume.

He did enough in the front half of his NFL career to warrant the likelihood to reach the Hall of Fame in one shot.

After a 5.5-sack rookie season in 2011, he hit double-digits the next four years, including two 20.5-sack campaigns and another 17.5-sack season in 2015. Watt piled up 41 passes defensed and 15 forced fumbles in that four-year run from 2012-15.

He made five First Team All-Pro squads, won NFL Defensive Player of the year three times and led the NFL in sacks in 2012 and 2015.

Injuries struck down four of his next five seasons, but Watt’s full 16-game run this year made for a fine send-off.

He posted 12.5 sacks and seven passes defensed, witnessed the birth of his son and went through a scary health episode of atrial fibrillation, requiring his heart to be shocked back into rhythm.

Through all of that, it became clear to him that he would retire.

Judging from the reaction by his peers and the NFL community at large, his football legacy couldn’t be in a much better spot.

Presented By
Western Governors University

Arizona Cardinals

Taylor Swift at Chiefs-Bears to watch Travis Kelce...

Associated Press

Taylor Swift’s appearance at Chiefs game spikes Travis Kelce jersey sales

Taylor Swift's trip to watch the Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce play football on Sunday didn't just have the internet talking nonstop.

3 hours ago

Michael Wilson catches a pass in Week 2...

Tyler Drake

Michael Wilson’s comfort level within Cardinals offense continues to evolve

Michael Wilson continues to impress for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023. The next step is getting him more involved as a pass catcher.

17 hours ago

Joshua Dobbs, Arizona Cardinals QB vs. the Dallas Cowboys...

Haboob Blog

‘Speeding in a school zone’: Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs pushed 20 mph vs. Cowboys

Joshua Dobbs is not Kyler Murray, but he's been a threat to run just like the recovering Arizona Cardinals startering quarterback.

24 hours ago

Presented By...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Arizona Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs talks win over the Cowboys

Video: Felisa Cárdenas and Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports Subscribe to the Arizona Sports daily newsletter: Read articles from Arizona Sports: Download the Arizona Sports app: Sign up for texts from Arizona Sports: Listen live to Arizona Sports: Follow the team: ARIZONA SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: X: TikTok: […]

1 day ago

Joshua Dobbs celebrates with Monti Ossenfort after a Week 3 win over the Dallas Cowboys...

Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs comes full circle in win over Cowboys

The Arizona Cardinals' 28-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys was certainly a game to remember in more ways than one for QB Joshua Dobbs.

1 day ago

Kyzir White celebrates with Jonathan Gannon in Week 3...

Tyler Drake

Kyzir White proving Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals right early into Arizona tenure

Kyzir White has been everything and more for a scrappy Cardinals defense led by head coach Jonathan Gannon and DC Nick Rallis.

2 days ago

Hard Knocks catches J.J. Watt tearing up as Cardinals play retirement video