Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt may be a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Walter Payton Man of the Year, TV host, philanthropist and all-around generational talent ... but like the rest of us, he can't outrun Father Time.
The 31-year-old has endured a brutal few years enduring among others a torn labrum and tibial plateau fracture since 2017. And yet he continues to bounce back in a superhuman fashion. In order for Watt to maintain his fitness and, hopefully, make it through a full season for the first time since returning to his usual All-Pro self in 2018, the Texans are looking to manage his reps carefully in the coming weeks.
"Obviously, J.J. has played a ton of football for us and at a very high level," said coach Bill O'Brien on Monday. "He’s on a different type of plan (from his teammates). I’m not sure how much you’ll see him out there this week. He’ll be out there eventually, but he’s on different type of plan just like a lot of other guys."
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Thankfully for Texans fans, it is not just Watt who's schedule is ever-changing The Texans coach/general manager also said that the training schedule will look different depending on the player, especially given the current circumstances.
"We basically have three weeks to the game," said O'Brien. "We have two weeks to the end of August and then we play on September 10, but the 9th is a travel day, the 8th is like a Friday, so we basically have three weeks. With these guys that have played a lot of football for us, they do get their work some days in the weight room, just in the weight room. Some days they get a lot of work done in the training room or some days they’ll be out at practice. I think every guy is a little bit unique."
In five of the six seasons that Watt has played 16 games, he has finished both a Pro-Bowler and an NFL All-Pro. And while Father Time is slowly creeping up on him, don't expect Watt to be phased just yet. Indeed, J.J. himself has addressed this "plan.''
"We’re creating a very customized schedule to make sure that it all points towards that first game in Kansas City,'' Watt said. "Personally, I have a tendency to get very amped up and I want to be all out every day and the biggest thing is remembering that this is all leading up to a game in Kansas City. The schedule that we’ve got and the plan that we have in place is a very good one. Sometimes I have to respect and appreciate that we’re all doing the right thing to get there.”