JJ Watt Floors Fans With Surprise NFL Retirement News

NFL defensive end JJ Watt is calling it quits. The Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman announced on Twitter on December 27, 2022, that he was nearing retirement. Watt shared a photo of himself with his wife and son and wrote, "Koa's first ever NFL game. My last ever NFL home game. My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It's been an absolute honor and a pleasure."

The news comes as something of a shock to football fans, who didn't expect Watt to wrap up his football career just yet. While the NFL star hasn't dropped hints yet as to what he plans to do next, we can expect he'll keep a toe in the athletic world, since his whole life centers around sports. Even his wife, Kealia Ohai, is an athlete; Ohai is a soccer superstar. The two began dating quietly and then tied the knot with a romantic wedding in the Bahamas in 2020, per People. They became parents in October 2022 after they welcomed baby Koa James Watt. Ohai has been extremely supportive of Watt's decision to retire right out of the gate, so it looks like he'll have a lot of love as he walks away from his long and successful career.

JJ Watt walks away as a record-holding NFL player

JJ Watt announced his retirement on Twitter after twelve remarkable seasons with only two more games to go, both on the road, one playing the Atlanta Falcons and lastly, playing the San Francisco 49ers. The Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman kept the focus on his wife and son in the post, but fans and fellow NFL stars couldn't help but recognize Watt's stellar career. As ESPN reminds, Watts was named Defensive Player of the Year three different times; these accolades came while he was with the Houston Texans in 2012, 2014, and again in 2015. Watt also holds NFL records for sacks. As Sports Illustrated notes, Watt boasts "franchise records in sacks (101), forced fumbles (22), tackles for loss (172) and quarterback hits (282)."

Watt got loved on by the NFL community after announcing his retirement. The NFL's official Twitter commemorated his charitable work. "Not only was [JJ Watt] one of the most dominant defenders of his generation, he was also one of the greatest men off the field," they tweeted. "After Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas in 2017, he raised over $37 million towards relief efforts in just 19 days." The Tampa Bay Buccaneers tweeted, "Game recognize game. Congratulations on a great career [JJ Watt]." His wife, Kealia Ohai Watt, praised her husband for his hard work. "The greatest. I am so proud to be your wife," she wrote on Twitter.