Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rick Scuteri/AP/Shutterstock (12953351h) Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt (99) takes part in drills at the NFL football team’s practice facility, in Tempe, Ariz Cardinals Football, Tempe, United States – 23 May 2022
Fred Faour: J.J. Watt calls it a career in Arizona, but his legacy will always be Houston
While he no longer plays in Houston, the greatest player in Texans history is calling it a career at the end of this season with the Arizona Cardinals.
J.J. Watt, three-time defensive player of the year, will play his final game next week when the Cardinals take on the 49ers on Jan. 8.
Watt is having a solid final season, with 9½ sacks, his most since 2018. His two years in Arizona have been mostly forgettable, and we forget just how dominant Watt was in Houston.
Twice he topped 20 sacks and led the league. He was a seven-time All-Pro. He won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his amazing fundraising after Hurricane Harvey. His career sacks stand at 111½ with two games remaining.
Watt ushered Houston into its playoff contention era, but the team could never get the big prize. Watt battled injuries in 2016 and 17, playing just a combined eight games. He bounced back with a stellar 16-sack season, but logged only five in the lost 2020 campaign and asked for his release. He made the playoffs with the Cardinals last year, but the team has struggled this year.
Expect him in the Texans’ ring of honor. Watt retires as the greatest defensive player in Texans’ history and probably their best player overall. If it’s not him, it’s Andre Johnson. Either way, the Cardinals’ years notwithstanding, Watt will always be remembered as a Texan.
Probably its greatest Texan.