Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt said goodbye to the NFL on Twitter after playing his final game on Sunday.
On Dec. 27, former Houston Texans and current Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt announced that he was retiring from the NFL at the end of the 2022 regular-season. The news came as a shock to fans around the league, as he was still playing at a high level late this season.
Watt participated in his last game on Sunday, where he faced the San Francisco 49ers, who took the 38-13 win over the Cardinals. Late in the game, Watt was pulled from the game at the two-minute warning so he could receive an ovation from the fans at Levi’s Stadium.
Hours after the game ended, Watt penned a short message, thanking the NFL.
JJ Watt says farewell to NFL after playing in final game
Watt made his way to the NFL as a first-round draft prospect out of Wisconsin. With the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Watt was selected by the Texans. In each passing year, Watt solidified himself as one of the best pass rushers of the 21st century. He could singlehandedly tilt the game in Houston’s favors, and made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators.
In his 10 seasons with the Texans, Watt won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year three times (2012, 2014-15), was named an All-Pro seven times, and made the Pro Bowl five times.
Watt may have made an impact on the field, but he also did so off the field. In 2017, Watt won the Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work raising $37 million for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
After the 2020 season, Watt joined the Cardinals as a free agent.
In his final game on Sunday, Watt recorded five total tackles, two sacks, and one pass defensed.
Through 151 games played, Watt recorded 586 total tackles, 114.5 sacks, 70 passes defensed, and 27 forced fumbles.
Watt’s NFL career officially reached its end, and in five year’s time, he will undoubtedly receive induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot.