JJ Watt – I would return to play if Texans ‘absolutely need it’

JJ Watt is keeping the door open on a possible return to the NFL if the Houston Texans need him, but this is the last year he’ll say that.

Watt, who retired after the 2022 season, made his comments Saturday while hosting his annual charity softball game in Houston.

“I’m a very happy man, I have a beautiful wife, I have a beautiful son. I’ve had 12 great years in this league and I’m very grateful that I left healthy and played great,” he said. told reporters. “Last year I told DeMeco (Ryans), ‘Don’t call unless you absolutely need to, but if you ever call, I’ll be there.’ And he knows not to call unless he absolutely needs to. This is the last year I’ll tell him that because I’m not going to keep training the way I’ve been training.”

Watt, 35, and Ryans played together for the Texans in 2011, which was Watts’ first NFL season and Ryans’ last with the Texans. Ryans was hired as the Texans’ coach last year and led Houston (10-7) to the AFC South division title and a wild-card victory over the Cleveland Browns.

“He knows one day he really needs it, I’ll be there for him,” Watt said. “But I don’t expect that to happen because they have a very good team. I hope that everyone stays extremely healthy and that they dominate and that they don’t need bodies, and that I can just watch it from the couch and enjoy it. “

The Texans bolstered their pass-rushing group this offseason by signing Danielle Hunter (16.5 sacks in 2023) and Denico Autry (11.5 sacks in ’23). They also have Will Anderson Jr., the third overall pick in last year’s draft, who had seven sacks in his rookie season.

Watt won a Defensive Rookie of the Year award and three Defensive Player of the Year awards in 10 seasons with the Texans. He finished his career with 114.5 sacks.

Watt is an NFL analyst for CBS Sports. He and his wife Kealia also became minority owners of English football club Burnley FC last year.

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