Arizona Cardinals star defensive end JJ Watt to retire after this season
Watt, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, said he played his “last ever” home game this past Sunday, a 19-16 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude,” Watt wrote on Twitter. “It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure.”
Arizona’s remaining two games of the season are on the road — at the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and at the San Francisco 49ers on January 8.
The 33-year-old was named Defensive Player of the Year three times, tied for most in league history with Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
The seven-time All Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, according to the NFL, was selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans where he played his first 10 seasons. He owns the Texans franchise record for the most career sacks with 101.
In March 2021, he signed with the Cardinals as a free agent.
Watt is well-known for his work off the field.
After Hurricane Harvey devastated areas around Houston and the rest of the Gulf Coast in August 2017, Watt embarked on what would be his most career-defining charitable effort to date.
Through a YouCaring campaign and plenty of social media attention and help from some famous friends, Watt raised more than $37 million for victims of the floods and damage Harvey left behind. Because of his fundraising, he was awarded the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which is given to honor the charity and volunteer efforts of NFL players.
CNN has reached out to the Cardinals for comment.