Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt, one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, will retire after the 2022 season, he announced Tuesday.
Watt, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, said he played his “last” home game last Sunday, a 19-16 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“My heart is filled with love and gratitude,” Watt wrote on Twitter. “It was an absolute honor and a pleasure.”
Arizona’s two remaining games of the season are played – on Sunday with the Atlanta Falcons and on January 8th with the San Francisco 49ers.
Known as a dominant pass rusher, Watt is likely to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to which he is eligible in 2028.
The 33-year-old has been named Defensive Player of the Year three times, along with Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald and New York Giants’ Lawrence Taylor.
The seven-time All Pro and five-time Pro Bowl was selected by the Houston Texans with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, according to the NFL, where he played his first 10 seasons. He owns the Texans’ franchise record for most career sacks with 101.
In March 2021, he signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals as a free agent. CNN has reached out to the Cardinals for comment.
Watt is known for his work off the field.
After Hurricane Harvey devastated areas around Houston and the rest of the Gulf Coast in August 2017, Watt embarked on his most career-defining charity drive yet.
Through a YouCaring campaign and plenty of social media attention and the help of a few famous friends, Watt raised more than $37 million for victims of the flooding and damage left behind by Harvey. His fundraising efforts earned him the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes NFL player charity and volunteerism.
Watt has two brothers, TJ and Derek, who play in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The three Watt brothers played college football at the University of Wisconsin.
JJ Watt announced in a social media post earlier this season that he was undergoing treatment for atrial fibrillation — an irregular heartbeat described by many sufferers as the heart “trembling,” “fluttering,” or “flip-flopping.” .