J.J. Watt to Wear No. 99 for Cardinals, Team Takes Number out of Retirement

J.J. Watt will keep the same number he had with the Houston Texans. After signing a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, Watt will wear No. 99 during his time with the team. The announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon, and it means the Cardinals has taken the number out of retirement. It was originally retired to honor Marshall Goldberg who played for the Chicago Cardinals in the 1940s.

The biggest reason Watt is able to wear No. 99 is Goldberg's family gave him permission. "Well, I know dad was really honored when they retired his number but also he's always respected other players," Goldberg's daughter, Ellen Goldberg Tullos, said to TMZ. "And, if J.J. Watt had the number 99 with him for a long time and it meant something to him, I think he'd be delighted to let him use the number and unretire or whatever the proper word would be. "He would be fine with that. It's just the type of guy he was, you know? I think he would be happy to let him use his number and honored with that as well."

TMZ also noted that Watt called Tullos and the two had a very good conversation about the number. When Tullos granted him permission to wear No. 99, Watt asked her if Goldberg had a charity foundation where he could make a donation. Goldberg played for the Cardinals for eight seasons with an interruption in between due to World War II. He was named to the All-Pro Team in 1941 and led the Cardinals to an NFL Championship in 1947.

Watt joins the Cardinals after a very strong run with the Texans. He was drafted by the Texans No 11 overall in 2011 and made an immediate impact recording 20.5 sacks in 2012, leading him to be named Defensive Player of the Year. He won the award again in 2014 and 2015 after registering 38 sacks in those seasons combined. After tallying 20.5 sacks in 2014, Watt became the first player in NFL history to record two 20-plus sack seasons.

In February, Watt asked for his release from the Texans, which the team granted. He now joins a Cardinals team that finished 8-8 in 2020 but has talented players including quarterback Kyler Murray, edge rusher Chandler Jones and his former Texans teammate wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.