JJ Watt received a standing ovation as he exited the field as a player for the last time this week after 12 seasons in the NFL.
JJ was released to leave the field just minutes before the end of the Cardinals 38-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium, to allow the fans to cheer him farewell as he left the field.
The whole stadium rose to their feet to applaud him off the field, as Watt looked to be on the verge of tears, while his wife, Kealia, watched on from the stands.
The day before the game against the 49ers, Watt was shown a surprise video, compiled of well-wishes from family members, teammates and legendary NFL opponents, all congratulating him on a successful career and wishing him luck for the future.
Watt has described the video as “one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received”.
The 33-year-old former Houston Texans has been dubbed one of the best defensive players of all time and ended his career with two sacks on Sunday which means he finishes the season with 12.5 sacks, taking his career total to 114.5 sacks.
“I know I still can (play),” Watt said on the team’s official website. “I’m just choosing not to.”
Watt showed he can still play, sacking 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy twice in his last game, and adding five tackles (three for loss) and a pass defensed.
Justin James Watt played his college football at Central Michigan and Wisconsin and was drafted by the Houston Texans as the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Watt played 10 seasons for the Texans where he still holds the franchise record for the most career sacks with 101.
A seven-time All Pro and a five-time Pro Bowl selection, JJ Watt has had a stellar career where he has been named Defensive Player of the Year three times.
His dominant career will most likely land him a place into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, for which he will be eligible in 2028.
JJ Watt has two younger brothers who currently both play in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
TJ Watt plays the same position as JJ as Defensive End and Derek Watt plays on the Offence as Fullback.
JJ Watt is also 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 led the YouCaring charity fundraiser for the victims of the hurricane.
With help from some famous friends, Watt raised more than $37 million for victims of the hurricane. Because of his fundraising, he was awarded the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, given to honor the charity and volunteer work of NFL players.