JJ Watt: Houston Texans agree to part ways with three-time defensive player of the year after ten years

JJ Watt and the Houston Texans have agreed to part ways, with the three-time defensive player of the year confirming the news in an emotional farewell message.

Watt confirmed he had sat down with Texans owner Cal McNair to ask for his release after ten seasons in Houston.

The veteran defensive end cut a frustrated figure throughout the 2020 season and publicly criticised the professionalism and production of some of his teammates after their 37-31 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals in December.

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The 31-year-old is the franchise’s all-time sacks leader (101) and is a five-time Pro Bowl selection.

The Texans selected Watt with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and he appeared in 128 games, also setting franchise records tackles for loss (172), quarterback hits (281) and forced fumbles (25).

Houston, I wanted you to hear this directly from me… pic.twitter.com/YqT3P6Lb6l

In a video message, directed at Texans supporters, Watt said: “I wanted to do this on video, as opposed to putting out a statement or doing a press conference because I want you guys to hear it directly from me.

“I want to speak directly to you, the city of Houston, so you can hear the words straight from my mouth.


A post shared by Houston Texans (@houstontexans)

“I have sat down with the McNair family and I have asked them for my release. We have mutually agreed to part ways at this time.

“I came here ten years ago as a kid from Wisconsin who had never really been to Texas before and now I can’t imagine my life without Texas in it.

“The way that you guys have treated me – besides Draft night, you booed me on Draft night – you treated me like family. I truly feel like you’re my family.

“Since that day I have tried to everything in my power to earn your respect and make you proud on and off the field.

“You guys have given me everything and more and I can only hope that you feel like I’ve given you everything I have.

“The connection is special and I will never ever take that for granted because I know how rare it is.

“I’m excited and looking forward to a new opportunity and I’ve been working extremely hard, but at the same time it is always tough to move on.

“I just want you guys to know that I love you, I appreciate you, I appreciate the McNair family for giving me my first opportunity in the NFL. Thank you Houston.”

In a statement, McNair said: “Change is never easy, especially when it involves the ones you love.

“J.J.’s impact on not only our organization, but the entire Houston community, is unlike any player in our franchise’s history.

“I told J.J. earlier this week that we will forever consider him a Texan. We take solace in knowing that this is not a goodbye but a ‘see you soon.’

“For now, we will build upon the foundation that J.J. created here and forge ahead with our unwavering mission to bring a championship to our city, create memorable experiences for our fans and do great things for Houston.”

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