J.J. Watt's retirement inspires backhanded quip by 49ers' Mike McGlinchey

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McGlinchey's backhanded quip about Watt's upcoming retirement originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA — When offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey experienced his first true taste of the NFL, it was J.J. Watt who served up the bitter dish.

On Sunday, Watt plans to steps aside after 12 NFL seasons, and McGlinchey might order the limo that takes him into retirement.

“Our game is going to miss him,” McGlinchey said of Watt. “But the 49ers are not going to miss him as much as the rest of the world.”

Watt signed with the Arizona Cardinals before last season as a free agent. His issues with injuries continued last season, limiting him to just seven games.

But Watt has bounced back this season with a team-high 10.5 sacks in 15 games.

He announced two weeks ago his final game will be Sunday when the Cardinals face the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.

Watt played his first 10 NFL seasons with the Houston Texans, and was the game’s most dominant defensive player during an historic four-year span that saw him earn NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times.

On Aug. 16, 2018, McGlinchey and the 49ers took part in a joint practice in Houston against the Texans. Watt repeatedly lined up against McGlinchey in one-on-one and team periods.

All eyes were on the matchup, as McGlinchey recently had been chosen as the No. 9 overall pick in the draft.

“He was my welcome to the NFL five years ago,” McGlinchey said. “[He] flat-backed me in training camp when we were there when I was a rookie.

“A guy since I was in high school I’ve watched dominate this league. He’s a sure-fire Hall of Famer.”

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McGlinchey has played the best football of his career in the second half of the season, as the 49ers enter the regular-season finale on a nine-game win streak.

One week after playing well against the Raiders’ Maxx Crosby, McGlinchey knows all too well how Watt — even at the age of 33 — can wreck his day.

RELATED: Bosa describes retiring Watt as 'one-of-one' defensive lineman

Watt possesses the power, quickness, techniques and freelance approach that makes for a challenge unlike anything an opposing offensive lineman will experience from anybody else.

“If you don’t come off as hard as you can, he’s going to run you over,” McGlinchey said. “But on top of it, he’s got the speed, quickness and agility to turn the corner and swim you and have you fall flat on your face and avoid you and get back to his gap, all in the same breath.”

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