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J.J. Watt Willing To Play For Texans In 2024

J.J. Watt Willing To Play For Texans In 2024

May 5th, 2024 at 10:07pm CST by Rory Parks

Former star edge defender and current CBS Sports personality J.J. Watt hung up his cleats at the end of the 2022 campaign. While we had not heard any reports to suggest that Watt was second-guessing his decision, it sounds as if he would return to play for his original team under the right circumstances.

Watt, 35, was a first-round pick of the Texans in 2011 and, despite a few injury-marred seasons, built a Hall-of-Fame resume over his 10-year Houston run before (ostensibly) finishing his playing career via a two-year stint with the Cardinals. His first season with the Texans was also DeMeco Ryans‘ last as a linebacker with Houston (Ryans, of course, is now entering his second season as the team’s head coach).

Prior to the start of the 2023 campaign, Watt told Ryans that he would suit up for the Texans if Ryans needed him to do so (video link via Brandon Scott of Sports Radio 610). Apparently, that offer is also on the table for 2024, though this will be the last year that Watt makes himself available to his old club.

“I told DeMeco last year, I said, ‘Don’t call unless you absolutely need it, but if you ever do call, I’ll be there,’” Watt said at this charity softball game yesterday (h/t Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). “And he knows not to call unless he absolutely needs it. This is the last year I’ll tell him that, because I’m not going to keep training the way I’ve been training, but he knows that if he ever truly does need it, I’ll be there for him. I don’t anticipate that happening — they’ve got a very good group.”

Indeed, Ryans and C.J. Stroud were the toast of the league in 2023, when the rookie HC and rookie QB led the Texans on a surprising run to the divisional round of the AFC playoff bracket. This offseason, Houston made a number of high-profile additions to its defensive front, including four-time Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter . Hunter and 2023 first-rounder Will Anderson should form a dynamic duo at defensive end, with players like Derek Barnett and 2023 fourth-round choice Dylan Horton in support.

As Watt said, then, it is unlikely that Ryans will need to call upon his former teammate, but Watt is still a notable ace in the hole. Watt’s comments suggest that he has kept himself in football shape, and in his last year with Arizona in 2022, he started 16 games and notched 12.5 sacks. Should Ryans require an in-season addition to his cadre of pass rushers, he could certainly do a lot worse.

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