J.J. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, to retire at the end of the season

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Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt announced Tuesday that he will be retiring from football at the end of this season.

Watt was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Watt tweeted Tuesday morning that this past Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had been the first that his first child and son Koa, born in October, had attended. It was also his last home game, with the Cardinals playing on the road in Weeks 17 and 18.

“My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure,” Watt tweeted.

The retirement comes months after Watt’s heart was shocked back into rhythm due to atrial fibrillation; he would play days after the procedure.

Watt concludes his career with the Cardinals, having played his first 10 seasons in Houston after being drafted by the Texans in 2011. Watt joined the Cardinals starting in the 2021 season.

Watt has recorded 9.5 sacks this season. He has 111.5 thus far in his career, the fourth most sacks recorded by a player since the 2011 season.

Watt has never reached a Super Bowl, and the Cardinals have been knocked out of playoff contention with a current record of 4-11 amidst a five-game losing streak.

As a Texan, Watt became the only player to record multiple seasons with 20 or more sacks, achieving those tallies in 2012 and 2014.

The NFL’s Twitter account highlighted Watt’s charity work. Watt won the league’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2017 for his work in the Houston area after Hurricane Harvey, raising over $37 million in relief in just 19 days.

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