J.J. Watt Announces His Retirement From NFL After 12 Seasons

Two days after his 2-month-old son got to see him play for the first time, J.J. Watt announced his retirement from the NFL after the current season: It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure.”

By Amy Lamare Dec 27, 2022 8:20 PMTags
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JJ Watt is hanging up his cleats. 

The Arizona Cardinals defensive back announced Dec. 27 he is retiring from the NFL after 12 seasons. 

He shared the news on Twitter, alongside a photo of his wife, soccer star Kealia Ohai Watt, and their 2-month-old son, Koa James Watt

"Koa's first ever NFL game. My last ever NFL home game," the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year winner wrote. "My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It's been an absolute honor and a pleasure." 

Watt has two games remaining this season, both on the road in Atlanta and San Francisco.

Watt's surprise announcement comes after he suffered a health scare in early October when his heart went into atrial fibrillation, which causes an irregular and often very rapid heartbeat, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The 33-year-old tweeted that doctors shocked his heart back into a normal rhythm. And, three days later, on Oct. 2, he took the field for his 138th consecutive NFL game.

NFL Studs On and Off the Football Field

"Obviously, it's been a very emotional week for my family, for my wife, for myself," he said during the post-game press conference. "So, I'm very happy to get a win today. Obviously, I've had a lot of emotions, but I've learned to appreciate the little things even more, and so it's nice to have a win today."

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over the course of his 12-year career, Watt has captured hearts on and off the field. In 2017, when Houston was hit with the Category 4 hurricane Harvey, Watt raised more than $37 million to aid the city. And then, in 2020, he and his wife donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank to help people in need amid the pandemic.

More recently, Watt came raised funds for a fan who was going to sell a Watt jersey and sneakers to pay for their grandfather's funeral. "We'll help," he tweeted in July. "I'm sorry for your loss." 


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