Defensive end J.J. Watt couldn't hide his excitement after taking the field for his first training camp practice with the Arizona Cardinals. Watt, who suffered a hamstring injury during the conditioning test on the day the Cardinals reported to camp, took the field for the first time on Monday.
"That's part of the challenge, is easing yourself back in and trusting it," Watt said, per ESPN. "Somebody just asked how I felt and I was like, 'Like a dog chasing a tennis ball.' You're just like, wherever it bounces you want to get it and you're so excited to be out there and, like, it doesn't matter if you're supposed to go where bounces, you're just going for it, and that's what it felt like today.
"You're just so excited to be out there and excited to be playing with the guys, and it was a lot of fun." The Cardinals didn't want to rush Watt's comeback to the field. "We wanted to make sure we were really cautious, make sure he felt 100 percent before we got him back out there," Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said during his news conference before practice.
Said Watt: "We definitely took our time."
Watt could play in Week 1
Watt insists he doesn't need preseason games to determine if he could play in Week 1. "I've been in a lot of football games, I've been in a lot of situations, so I know what my body needs to be ready for Game 1," he said.
"I don't think the preseason games are one of those things that are absolutely necessary for me." Watt has played more than 900 snaps in five of his 10 seasons in the NFL. "I think it would be beneficial to be able to cut some of those back a little bit," Watt said.
"I mean, part of it is, just, the game gets rolling, you feel like, personal pride kicks in and you're like, 'I need to be out there and I want to go out there and make the plays,' but then there's also the part of being smart and understanding that it's a long season, it's a long game and you need to be in there for the right situation.
"So, I think that when you have capable guys behind you who are capable of stepping in and making plays that you're much more comfortable to do that."