Quarterbacks all over the country can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. J.J. Watt, the Cardinals’ defensive end, appears to be calling it quits at the end of the season.
On Tuesday, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year took to social media to announce that Sunday night would be his final home game in the NFL.
“This is Koa’s first NFL game. “My last ever NFL home game,” Watt wrote in a post that included a photo of him with his wife, daughter, and parents. “My heart is overflowing with love and gratitude. It’s been a true honour and pleasure.”
Watt has 9.5 sacks in 2022, which is his most since 2018. The 33-year-old spent ten of his twelve seasons with the Houston Texans. The five-time All-Pro led the NFL in sacks in 2012 and 2015, and he has twice reached 20 sacks in his career.
The Texans selected the former Wisconsin star with the 11th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. While his stats from 2012 to 2015 stand out — he was named All-Pro four seasons in a row — the pass rusher’s career was derailed by injuries. Watt appeared in just eight games between 2016 and 2017. He also missed the first half of the 2019 season.
Despite his injuries, Watt leads the Texans in sacks (101), quarterback hits (281), tackles for loss (172), and forced fumbles (25).
Watt eventually left the Texans after the 2020 season to sign as a free agent with the Cardinals for the final two seasons of his career. The franchise favourite cited loss and rebuilding as the primary reasons for his departure from Houston in October 2021.
Watt is coming off two strong final-quarter performances, possibly with added motivation knowing that his career is coming to an end. He had three sacks in Arizona’s Week 15 loss to the Broncos and then two tackles for loss and two QB hits in the Bucs’ Christmas Day OT loss.
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The pass-rushing dynamo has just two games left on his NFL career schedule, as the Cardinals close out their season against the Falcons and 49ers.