JJ Watt Open to NFL Return, Ready to Assist Texans If Called Upon

Exploring JJ Watt's journey from NFL star to family man

by Zain ul Abedin
JJ Watt Open to NFL Return, Ready to Assist Texans If Called Upon
© Logan Riely/Getty Images

JJ Watt, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is not ruling out a return to the Houston Texans, the team he iconically represented for 10 seasons. Watt, who hung up his cleats in 2022 after 12 prolific seasons in the league, recently hinted at a possible comeback under one specific condition: if his team truly needs him.

In a candid conversation with the Houston Chronicle on May 4, the 35-year-old expressed his openness to rejoining the Texans, provided it was necessary. "I’ve enjoyed a fantastic 12 years in the NFL, and I’m grateful to have retired in good health and at the top of my game," Watt stated.

He added a caveat for his former coach, DeMeco Ryans, saying, "I told DeMeco last year, ‘Don’t call unless you absolutely need it, but if you ever do call, I’ll be there.' " However, Watt, who has transitioned to a broadcasting role with CBS Sports since his retirement, emphasized that this potential return would be a one-time deal, applicable only for the upcoming season.

"This is the last year I’ll make that offer because I won’t continue training at this level," he mentioned, affirming his commitment to staying in shape for now.

Watt's Life After NFL

Watt's loyalty to the Texans was celebrated in October 2023 when he was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at NRG Stadium, an event that also reflected his storied career and contributions.

Despite his readiness to return if called upon, Watt remains skeptical about the need for his comeback, considering the Texans' current roster strength. Reflecting on his life post-retirement, Watt shared insights into his personal transition from professional athlete to family man and broadcaster.

"Leaving the NFL is incredibly tough; it’s a life that most of us have known since fifth grade," he explained. His current focus is on raising his daughter, Koa, alongside his wife, Kealia Ohai Watt. "It was tough balancing family and professional commitments," Kealia remarked on their life during Watt's playing days.

As Watt navigates his new normal away from the gridiron, his readiness to don his Texans jersey once more, albeit under strict conditions, speaks volumes of his dedication and the indelible bond he shares with his first NFL home.

Whether or not the call comes from Coach Ryans, Watt's legacy as a stalwart defender and committed team player continues to resonate with fans and the Texans community alike.