Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt, one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, will retire after the 2022 season, he announcement tuesday.
Watt, the NFL’s three-time Defensive Player of the Year, said he played his “last” home game last 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 was an absolute honor and a pleasure.”
Arizona’s final two games of the season are on the road — at the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 8.
“The pleasure was ours” the cardinals responded in a tweet.
Known as a dominating passer, Watt is likely destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to which it will be eligible in 2028.
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 holds the Texans franchise record for most career sacks with 101.
In March 2021, Watt signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals as a free agent.
Watt is well known for his work off the pitch.
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 lots of attention on social media and the help of celebrity friends, Watt has raised more than $37 million for flood victims and damage left behind by Harvey. Due to his fundraising, he received the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, which is given to honor the charitable and volunteer efforts of NFL players.
Watt has two brothers, TJ and Derek, who play in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. All three Watt brothers played college football at the University of Wisconsin.
JJ Watt revealed in a social media post earlier this season that he had undergone treatment for atrial fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat described by many as a ‘quiver’, ‘flutter’ or ‘flip’. -flop” from the heart.