J.J. Watt will play for a different NFL team next season. On Friday, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year announced he has asked for his release from the Houston Texans, and the team agreed. This news was first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
'I have sat down with the McNair family and I have asked for my release and we have mutually agreed to part ways at this time," Watt said in the video. The Texans drafted Watt No. 11 overall in 2011. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and has been selected to the All-Pro First Team five times. Shortly after Watt posted the video, the Texans announced the team and Watt have mutually agreed to part ways.
Houston, I wanted you to hear this directly from me... pic.twitter.com/YqT3P6Lb6l— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 12, 2021
"Change is never easy, especially when it involves the ones you love. J.J.'s impact on not only our organization but the entire Houston community is unlike any player in our franchise's history," Texans Chair and CEO Cal McNair said in a statement. "I told J.J. earlier this week that we will forever consider him a Texan. We take solace in knowing that this is not a goodbye but a 'see you soon.' For now, we will build upon the foundation that J.J. created here and forge ahead with our unwavering mission to bring a championship to our city, create memorable experiences for our fans and do great things for Houston."
Watt has been the face of the Texans since he was drafted. In 2014, Watt became the first player in NFL history to record two 20-plus sack seasons in a career. He has recorded 101 sacks but has only notched nine sacks in his last two seasons. In April 2020, Watt was selected to the 2010s All-Decade Team. Watt release comes amid Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson asking to be traded.
"The connection I have with the people of Houston is special, and I will never take that for granted because I know how rare it is. I just want you to know that I love you and I appreciate you," Watt said. "I want to thank the McNair family for drafting me and giving me my first opportunity in the NFL. Thank you, Houston."