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Few players in the NFL are respected like J.J. Watt, so when the Arizona Cardinals star announced that he planned to retire after this season, you knew he was going to get his due.
J.J. Watt breaks down in tears during tribute video from Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, his family and more.
With Watt’s final game approaching Sunday, completing a career of 12 seasons, 151 games and 114.5 sacks, the Cardinals arranged a surprise for him during a team meeting Saturday, which was captured by “Hard Knocks In Season.
Cardinals interim head coach Vance Joseph singled Watt out, then played a video featuring Watt’s brothers, T.J. and Derek, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, parents John and Connie, wife Kealia and son Koa.
Watt was near tears by the time the first speaker, T.J., finished his first sentence and was outright sobbing by the video’s halfway point.
J.J. Watt put on an NFL uniform for the last time of his career in the Cardinals’ season-ending loss Sunday against the 49ers.
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Before closing the curtains of his noteworthy career, the five-time Pro Bowler was honored pregame by his brothers, T.J. and Derek, while wearing a special pair of custom-made cleats for his final game.
Watt logged two sacks, five tackles (three for a loss) and a pass deflection, and took an emotional walk off the field at Levi’s Stadium with 2 minutes left. However, the one tribute that left the 33-year-old fighting back tears came from his brothers, his wife, Kealia, and a host of current and former NFL players he battled over his 12-year career.
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HBO’s Hard Knocks in Season featuring the Cardinals teased a trailer for Wednesday’s episode, showing Arizona defensive line coach Matt Burke leading the charge of preparing a video of reflections from Watt’s family members and Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Dak Prescott.
“I just want to say congratulations on retirement,” T.J. said in the video. “You and your resiliency throughout all of these ups and downs, you ending up in the NFL and you being a DPOY and you having all the success that you had showed me that it was possible.