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Texans are giving Watt, the most popular player in franchise history, the chance to win elsewhere

HOUSTON – When Houston Texans Fans booed J.J. watt On design night 2011, they couldn’t foresee what was coming.

Little did they know that Watt would become the face of the franchise, the best gamer in its 19-year history and a legendary figure in Houston.

It was announced on Friday that Watt had asked for his and received it Release by the TexansThis means that he and the McNair family have separated from each other. It was the final step in a tumultuous off-season for a Texan team currently handling a trade request from the franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson.

In Watt’s announcement, a Video to the fanshe said, looking forward to a new opportunity, “it’s always difficult to keep going.”

“I came here 10 years ago as a kid from Wisconsin who had never been to Texas,” said Watt. “And now I can’t imagine my life without Texas. The way you treated me, apart from Draft Night … I mean, you booed me on Draft Night. But every day after that you did Treated me like family. And I really feel like you are my family. “

The way the Texans handled Watt’s exit showed the respect the McNair family had for Watts. Houston could have tried trading Watts for design capital, but decided to release him more than a month before the free agency began. Now he can immediately sign with another team. In a statement, Janice McNair, co-founder and chair of the team, said, “Simply put, there has been no person in the past decade who has had a greater impact on the Texas organization than J.J. Watt.”

Watt’s most incredible stretch on the field was between 2012 and 2015, when he won three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and has been the only player since 1982 to record multiple seasons with 20 or more sacks.

His 74.5 sacks were the second most common in a player’s first five seasons since individual sacks became an official statistic in 1982, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Watt hasn’t missed a game in his first five seasons, but he had two back surgeries in 2016, broke his leg in 2017 and tore his pectoral muscle in 2019. Except for the torn chest muscle, all injuries were by the end of the season. He came back for the playoffs after eight games. It was an unprecedented return made possible because he was ready to do the job.

In 2015, when Watt didn’t miss a game despite a broken hand, he also played with five torn muscles that needed off-season surgery.

It was this tenacity that demanded respect in the dressing room and around town. Teammates and fans raved about Watt, and he was a leader in not only the locker room but Houston too. His passion on the field was contagious and gave fans a reason to be excited about a team that was always close to breakthrough in January but never did.

Aside from what he did in the field, what he did in the community had a huge impact on Houston.

In August 2017, Watt launched a fundraiser to help those affected by the storm when he saw the city hit by Hurricane Harvey.

What started as a goal of raising $ 200,000 – of which he donated $ 100,000 himself – quickly turned into a life-changing $ 41.6 million. In addition to collecting this money, Watt took the process of distribution seriously and spoke to people who processed donations after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans to see what they were doing well and what mistakes they were making. He said it was his mission to make sure that the money raised had the greatest possible impact.

And while people around the world will remember what he did after Hurricane Harvey, there are hundreds more stories – and probably hundreds more untold – about what Watt did in this community in his 10 years in Houston.

When Watt was asked last May if he wanted to end his career in Houston, he said: “That would obviously be a goal of mine.

“This city has been amazing to me since the day I got here,” he said. “I am very grateful and happy to have the opportunity to play for such great fans who have supported not only myself but my foundation and everything I’ve tried. It’s a great place.”

“I can’t say what’s going to happen in the future, but I definitely hope it does.”

Ultimately, the 2020 season showed how far the Texans were from Watt’s ultimate goal of winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, and the McNair family complied with his request to try to win elsewhere.

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