HOUSTON (KXAN) — Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt asked to be released from the team, and ownership has granted that request, Watt said in a video Friday via Twitter.
The 5-time All-Pro and 3-time Defensive Player of the Year said while it’s “tough to move on,” he’s excited for what’s next in his career. He played 10 seasons for the team.
At a postgame press conference in December following a loss to Cincinnati, Watt called out his teammates about not playing hard for fans. The Texans have had a tumultuous offseason when it comes to its high-profile players. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has reportedly asked to be traded, but new general manager Nick Caserio and new head coach David Culley say they plan on having Watson on the team next season.
“I came here 10 years ago as a kid from Wisconsin who’d never really been to Texas before,” Watt said, “and now, I can’t imagine my life without Texas in it.”
Here’s the full message to Texans fans and the rest of the football world:
Texans CEO Cal McNair said he’ll “forever consider J.J. a Texan.”
“Change is never easy, especially when it involves the ones you love. J.J.’s impact on not only our organization, but the entire Houston community, is unlike any player in our franchise’s history,” McNair said.
“For now, we will build upon the foundation that J.J. created here and forge ahead with our unwavering mission to bring a championship to our city, create memorable experiences for our fans and do great things for Houston,” he said.
The Texans selected Watt with the 11th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, and he appeared in 128 games for the team across 10 seasons. He set franchise records in sacks (101.0), tackles for loss (172), quarterback hits (281) and forced fumbles (25). He’s one of just three players all-time to be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year at least three times.