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Cardinals’ J.J. Watt hints he will retire after 2022 NFL season: ‘It’s been an absolute honor’

Getty’s Michael Owens

JJ Watt is playing some of the best football in recent memory, leading the Cardinals with 9.5 sacks in his 12th NFL season. He has also played some of his last footballs.Star defensive lineman on Christmas night, two days after his Arizona loss to the Buccaneers in overtime hint on twitter for him to retire at the end of the season.

Watt, 33, shared a photo of himself with his wife Kealia and young son Koa at State Farm Stadium during Monday’s game. Its caption indirectly announced his retirement: “First NFL game for Koa. My last NFL home game. My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s an absolute honor and joy.” was.”

The Cardinals still have two games left on their schedule, both on the road: the Falcons, then the 49ers. Watt played a key role in Arizona’s defense this year, making a comeback as the Texans’ All-Pro as his pass rusher He received Player of the Year votes Did. Earlier this season, he also overcame his atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an arrhythmia that requires a shock to the heart to restore its rhythm.

After spending the first decade of his career in Houston, Watt leaves the game as one of the leading defensive players of his era. The latter half of his career was plagued by injuries that kept him out four times for at least half the season. But when healthy, he is one of the most consistent forces end to end and along the line. His 111.5 career sacks rank 26th all-time. He has led the NFL in sacks twice, surpassed 20 takedowns on two different occasions, has three Defensive Player of the Year Awards (2012, 2014, 2015), and seven All-Pro nominations. , earned five Pro Bowl selections.

Watt is also one of the most recognizable faces in the NFL community, winning the 2017 Walter Peyton Man of the Year award for rallying tens of millions in relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey.