Cardinals’ JJ Watt leaves door open for return if Texans, DeMeco Ryans ‘absolutely need it’

Arizona Cardinals news

Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt retired from the NFL after 12 seasons in 2022, finishing on a high note by racking up 12.5 sacks at the age of 33 for the Arizona Cardinals.

JJ Watt leaves door open for return if Texans, DeMeco Ryans 'absolutely need it'
JJ Watt leaves door open for return if Texans, DeMeco Ryans ‘absolutely need it’

Now 35 and with his Houston Texans, the team where he played his first 10 seasons, looking like contenders after winning the AFC South division in the first year of head coach DeMeco Ryans’ tenure as head coach, the 2010’s All-Decade Team member and current NFL analyst for the “NFL Today” on CBS Sports, is cracking the door open to return to football for one more year to play for his former Houston teammate. The Texans current head coach played one season in Houston’s front seven with Watt in 2011.

“I’m a very fortunate, lucky man. I have a beautiful wife, I have a beautiful son. I’ve had 12 great years in this league and I’m very thankful to have walked away healthy and playing great,” Watt said on Saturday, via SportsRadio 610 in Houston when asked how he resists the allure of coming out of retirement to play for the Texans. “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.’ 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.”

However, if injuries deplete the Texans’ defensive line midway through the 2024 season, Watt hasn’t fully closed the door on a return. Although he did say the upcoming 2024 season is the last year that he will be training his body to be ready for a return to football.

“I very much don’t want that to ever be the case,” Watt said of the Texans needing him because of injuries. “I hope everybody stays extremely healthy and they dominate and they don’t need any other bodies. And I just get to watch and enjoy from the couch.”

Houston general manager Nick Caserio is also open to the potential of Watt’s Texans homecoming.

“I have a lot of respect and appreciation for JJ,” Caserio said on the “Pat McAfee Show” on Thursday. “When I took the [GM] job in February of ’21, he was one of the first players I actually spoke to. Certainly respectful of JJ, his career, what he’s done for the organization. What he’s done for the city of Houston. I’m not going to speak for him about what he wants to do relative to playing football. I’ll let him disclose that on your show. … It’s very early. It’s May. The season doesn’t start until September, and then you look at players end of October, November. Case by case, so between him and [Tom] Brady, we’ll see who jumps back in first. … He [Watt] always has an open door both organizationally and in the city. He’s earned that, and he absolutely deserves it.

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