Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt announced Tuesday that the 2022 season will be his last in the NFL.
Watt tweeted that Sunday’s overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was his final home game in the league. Arizona, which has already been eliminated from playoff contention, visits the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers in its final two games this campaign.
The 33-year-old’s established himself as one of the NFL’s all-time greats since entering the league as the 11th overall pick of the Houston Texans in 2011. A five-time All-Pro, Watt will hang up his cleats with three Defensive Player of the Year awards under his belt, tied for the most in pro football history alongside Lawrence Taylor and Aaron Donald.
Watt played his first 10 seasons for the Texans, racking up 101 sacks – the most in franchise history – and 25 forced fumbles across 128 regular-season games. In Houston, he also became the first player in NFL history to register at least 20 sacks in two different seasons. The five-time Pro Bowler led the league in sacks twice (2012 and 2015).
Watt posted several remarkable moments in Houston, including a 29-yard pick-6 that helped the Texans earn their first-ever playoff victory, beating the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card round in January 2012.
Watt enjoyed his best season in 2014. He finished that year with 20.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, and four forced fumbles. Watt also scored a pick-6 and a touchdown on a fumble return that campaign, as well as three touchdown catches, en route to winning his second DPOY award and finishing second for MVP behind Aaron Rodgers.
After playing all 80 games in his first five NFL seasons, Watt battled multiple injuries and missed 32 regular-season games between 2016-19. He ranked second for Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 after amassing 16 sacks and seven forced fumbles just a year after playing only five contests.
Watt joined the Cardinals as a free agent in 2021. The Wisconsin product, who appeared in only seven games in his first year with Arizona, has racked up 33 tackles, six pass breakups, and one forced fumble to go along with a team-high 9.5 sacks through 14 games in 2022.
A member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, Watt has notched 580 tackles, 111.5 sacks, and 27 forced fumbles through 149 career games.
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