John McClain: Watt excited about Texans hiring Ryans as new head coach

Jan 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) talks to San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans (right) after the game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

John McClain: Watt excited about Texans hiring Ryans as new head coach

Count J.J. Watt among the current and former Texans who believe owners Cal and Hannah McNair and general manager Nick Caserio made the right decision to hire DeMeco Ryans as the sixth head coach in franchise history.

Watt, who played his first 10 years with the Texans and his last two with the Cardinals, retired after this season in which he recorded 12½ sacks – the most since he had 16 in 2018. His first season of 2011 coincided with the last of Ryans’ six-year career with the Texans.

“Players and fans alike should be thrilled by this hire,” Watt said by text on Thursday. “I think you can tell by the energy and enthusiasm of all us former players the Texans got it right with this one, and we’re all here to support DeMeco in any way we can.”

After the turmoil-filled 2020 season, Watt asked the McNair family for his release so he could become an unrestricted free agent. He signed a two-year contract. He turns 34 in March.

“The Houston fanbase is incredible, and they deserve a team and coach they can throw the full weight of their passion and energy behind,” he said. “DeMeco is that coach. There’s no doubt there’s still work to be done to get the organization to where it ultimately wants to be, but this is a hell of a start.”

So far, Watt has given no indication of what he wants to do next now that he’s left the NFL. The Texans haven’t made it official but expect him to be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor with Bob McNair and Andre Johnson next season. The schedule won’t come out for another three months, but the ideal game would be against Pittsburgh, where his younger brothers, T.J. and Derek, play for the Steelers.

(John McClain writes four columns a week for He can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and  Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three weekly Houtopia podcasts for 610. He also can be read three times a week on

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