J.J. Watt was front and center for the Houston Texans off-season workouts while questions regarding his long term health continue to linger. Watt was injured late in the 2015 season and went though a few surgeries to correct some health issues prior to the 2016 season.
Then his first of two back surgeries hit prior to the start of training camp in 2016, when Watt rushed back to the field only to wind up being placed on the injured reserve, ending his 2016 season.
Watt has been cleared since the start of Super Bowl weekend and today took part in the opening day of phase one of the off-season.
“It was a very tough year for me but the only way I can ever be as good as I want to be is if I am confident,” Watt said of last season.
Watt knows there are plenty who doubt his capabilities post-injury and whether he can get back to his former defensive player of the year level.
“I see them all, I know them all, I have heard them all. You hear everything,” Watt explained of the doubters.
“The only way I will ever be truly the player I want to get back out there and be for my teammates and for these fans is to go out there and be confident,” Watt said of returning to the field. “To work my ass off every single day and just be who I know I can be.”
With his time off, Watt had time to reflect on missing the game, as well as on his career and his long term goals. Retirement is far from Watt’s mind and he is checked back in to making the Texans defense the top in the NFL again by doing what he does best on the field.
“I am very excited - there is not question about that. I think you’re away from the game for a year...” Watt said, “like I have said many times before, it reaffirms how much you love it, how passionate you are about it, and how badly you want to get out there and play with your teammates.”
Watt continued, “There is definitely a little bit of something there, just being away for so long and knowing I have had all this time to continue build up. I have had time for the passion to grow and the fire to burn bigger and bigger.”
Watt missed his first games of his career in 2016 and only appeared in three games with 8 totals tackles and 1.5 sacks. The Texans defense went on to be the top-ranked unit in the NFL and Watt wants to be part of that once again.
“It is going to be a lot of fun but I have also learned a lot over that time that I need to make sure I balance myself. Not get overly crazy in the off-season and things like that," Watt said. “It has been a really good time for me but it is definitely time for me to start playing some football again, that is for sure.”
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