Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the 2022 season. Watt and the Cardinals will be on the road for their final two games of the season, playing at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17 and on the road against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 18. They have already been eliminated from playoff contention.
Koa’s first ever NFL game.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) December 27, 2022
My last ever NFL home game.
My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure.
Watt, 33, was a first round draft pick by the Houston Texans in 2011. He was with the franchise for 10 years and then signed a two-year deal in 2021 with Arizona. Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014 and 2015) and has been selected to the Pro Bowl five times (2012-2015, 2018).
The interesting thing about Watt’s decision to hang up the cleats is that he is playing some of his best football this season. He has played in 14 games and has 33 total tackles with 9.5 sacks and one forced fumble. His sack number is his second most in a season since 2016. There was hope that Watt would capitalize on this momentum and play a year with his brother T.J. Watt with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but at least for now, it seems we will miss out on seeing that. Watt has 111.5 career sacks with two games to go and is considered a lock to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.