JJ Watt has asked the Houston Texans for his release and said the sides have "mutually agreed" to part ways.
The star defensive end made the announcement himself in a video on his Twitter page. Watt, a five-time Pro Bowl selection and cornerstone of the franchise, is still seeking a Super Bowl title as the Texans find themselves embroiled in offseason controversy. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is trying to work his way out of town as well.
Watt announces release from Texans
Watt, 31, released the news himself rather than do it in a news conference. He said he sat down with the McNair family, which owns the Texans franchise, and they have "mutually agreed to part ways at this time."
Houston, I wanted you to hear this directly from me... pic.twitter.com/YqT3P6Lb6l
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 12, 2021
Watt sent love and appreciation to the city, fans and the McNair family for everything they've done since he was the franchise's 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. But he said he is looking forward to a new opportunity.
“The way you guys have treated me — besides draft night, you guys booed me on draft night — but every day after that you treated me like family and I truly feel like you’re my family. Since that day I have tried to do everything in my power to work and earn your respect and try 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 city of Houston has been unbelievable to me. It’s where I met my wife, it’s where I’ve met lifelong friends and my teammates. I’ve had incredible coaches and training staff and equipment staff and cafeteria workers and weight room staff and the front office people. People on the streets, people in restaurants and grocery stores and showing up at my house. The connection is special and I will never ever take that for granted because I know how rare it is.”
Watt is married to Kealia Ohai Watt, a forward for the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL. She was traded from the Houston Dash a year ago.
His brothers, Derek and T.J., both play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It has created talk about a trio of Watt brothers reuniting in a city that has realistic Super Bowl hopes.
Watt has been more than a standout defensive end for the team. He is heavily involved in local community service initiatives, including continued Hurricane Harvey relief efforts through his Justin J. Watt Foundation. He is a two-time AP Defensive Player of the Year and the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work fundraising to help those impacted by the hurricane.
Texans offseason woes continue
The Texans stumbled this season to a 4-12 finish and Watt apologized to Watson for "wasting one of your years." The 25-year-old star had a career season and sent love to his former teammate on Twitter after the announcement.
Salute to one of the Greatest of All Time @JJWatt I appreciate you for all the work you put in and more importantly the person you are. Any team in the league will be better the day you out on their jersey! 1OVE my brother! MORE Glory 🙏🏾
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) February 12, 2021
Watson has himself asked out of the organization, though new Texans general manager Nick Caserio said he had "zero interest" in dealing the quarterback. But the franchise is privately looking around for a deal and has a high price tag in mind, per reports.
Watson is under contract through the 2025 season. He reportedly hasn't had contact with the front office since late January. Both Watson and Watt's requests are a direct result of the franchise's front office dysfunction, which has taken center stage in the offseason.
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