J Watt Told Texans HC DeMeco Ryans He’d Return if Needed amid NFL Retirement

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Texan legend JJ Watt waves to the crowd as he make his way down the sideline before the football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 1, 2023, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

J.J. Watt isn’t ruling out an NFL comeback.

The future Hall of Famer spoke to reporters Saturday and said he would return to the Houston Texans if they “absolutely need it.”

“I’ve had 12 great years in this league and I’m very thankful to have walked away healthy and playing great,” Watt said. “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.”

B.Scott from Hiram Clarke @brandonkscott

I asked J.J. Watt how he resists the temptation to return to football, especially given the Texans’ rise. His answer was interesting.<br><br>Watt told DeMeco Ryans he’s still training and is ready if he absolutely needs it. <a href=”https://t.co/Z3gbfqjOA1″>pic.twitter.com/Z3gbfqjOA1</a>

Watt retired after the 2022 season. He played his first 10 NFL seasons with the Texans from 2011-2020 and then spent his finally two years with the Arizona Cardinals. A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Watt was one of the most dominating pass rushers in NFL history at his peak but saw injuries derail the second half of his career.

Watt played only 71 of a possible 114 games over his final seven NFL seasons. In four of his final seven seasons he played less than 10 games.

The Texans enter the 2024 season with Super Bowl aspirations after loading their offense around quarterback C.J. Stroud. They acquired veteran running back Joe Mixon and wideout Stefon Diggs, and Ryans’ defense ranked among the NFL’s best last season.

Adding a healthy Watt to the mix would only increase the rising hype in Houston. We’ll just have to see whether Ryans ever picks up the phone and makes that call.

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