The Houston Texans have released star defender JJ Watt after he filed for release from the team he announced on social media on Friday.
Watt, 31, played for the Texas for 10 seasons after they made him the # 11 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and Watt went on to become one of the greatest defensive players of his generation.
Watt is one of only three players to ever win the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award three times. He was an eight-time All-Pro, a five-time Pro Bowler, bagged the NFL twice, and was a unanimous member of the NFLs 2010s All-Decade Team.
Watt started all 16 games for the Texans in 2020 for the seventh time in his career. He picked up five sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hits, forced two fumbles, recovered one, and had an interception. It was statistically the least productive full season of Watts career.
During the 2020 season, things went wrong between Watt and the Texans, as he regularly expressed his displeasure at the teams’ ongoing losses and apparent lack of direction.
I am excited and looking forward to another opportunity and I work really hard, Watt said. But at the same time it is always difficult to move on. I just want (Texan fans) to know that I love you, I appreciate you, I appreciate the McNair family for composing me and giving me my first chance in the NFL. Thank you Houston, I love you.
Houston, I wanted you to hear this directly from me … pic.twitter.com/YqT3P6Lb6l
– JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 12, 2021
Watt’s two brothers, outside linebacker TJ Watt and fullback Derek Watt, both play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are expected to have an opening in their defensive line with tackle Tyson Alualu to hit a freestyle strike. TJ Watt made a public appeal for the third Watt brother to join the others in Pittsburgh.
– TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) February 12, 2021
With a month to go before the start of the new competition year, the Steelers are about $ 24 million above the 2021 salary ceiling.
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