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Texans Ex J.J. Watt On Retirement, Injuries, And Glory

Former Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt addresses his future and thoughts of retirement.

A broken hand, herniated disc, fractured tibia, broken hand, torn peck, and a bicep tear are just some of the seemingly countless injuries former Houston Texan J.J. Watt has sustained throughout his 11 years in the league. Given these injuries and his age, you've got to ask, when will enough be enough?

Currently a member of the Arizona Cardinals, Watt spoke to fellow sporting legend and Pheonix Suns point guard Chris Paul for Bloomberg about - amongst other topics - his thoughts on retiring.

"I've definitely thought about retirement," Watt said. "I think I probably thought about it too early at one point. I started thinking about the possibility of that when I was 26, just because you know you can't play forever and you start to consider when that day might come." 

At 26-years-old, Watt was fresh off of his fifth season with the Texans (2015). That year, he'd been named a Pro Bowler, first-team All-Pro for the fourth season running, and NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the third time. 

J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt

However, in July of 2016 Watt underwent surgery for a herniated disc. That year he played just three games before requiring further surgery. Since then he's only played a full season twice.

Whether or not retirement had cropped up in his mind knowing that surgery was on the horizon is anybody's guess - but if so, who could blame him?

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So, what keeps him going despite the odds being stacked against him? The answer is simple: Competitiveness.

"Every time that it (retirement) ever creeps into my head, I'm a competitor man, I'm a competitor and I want to win, and I want to leave this game with a damn trophy," Watt said. 

Watt, now 33 and in the final year of his contract, believes that he can still contribute and there are things he can still accomplish, and admitted that he doesn't want to reminisce in the future and question what could have been.

J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt and Davis Mills

Ultimately, while the game has clearly taken a toll on his body already, he seems to be at peace in the knowledge that there could be more to come down the line.

"The injuries and the things that come with the game, I've dealt with them more than I wish I would, but I know the consequence and I know what the possibility is and I'm willing to accept that right now to keep going," Watt said. "Once that line crosses and it flips to where I'm not willing to accept it, that'll be the day. But right now, I'm willing to accept the pain and everything to try to get the glory."