J.J. Watt moved to tears after Cardinals surprise him with tribute video
After announcing his retirement with two weeks remaining in the 2022 NFL season, J.J. Watt took time to soak it all in. The future Hall of Famer received an outpouring of support and praise from throughout the league following his announcement, and Watt even got a special video tribute courtesy of his Arizona Cardinals teammates and coaches.
The idea for the video belonged to Cardinals defensive line coach Matt Burke and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, and it contains messages from Watt’s friends, family and peers from around the NFL. It begins with a message from his younger brother, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt.
“I never had fear of, ‘What if I put in all this hard work, all this dedication into football, and it not work out?'” T.J. said. “But you, and your resiliency through all the ups and downs in your football career, and you ending up in the NFL, and you being Defensive Player of the Year, and you having all the success that you had, showed me that it’s possible.”
“You were not only a dominant player on the field but you did so much for people off the field,” Aaron Rodgers said. “Congratulations, buddy. See you in [the Hall of Fame].”
“Man, you were a pain in my ass for a long time,” Brady said. “You were an incredible player. You treated people with respect. You were a great teammate, cared about the team. … It was an honor to share the field with you.”
Cameras from HBO’s “Hard Knocks: In Season” crew captured Watt tearing up at the video, and he was outright sobbing when the last video messages played, featuring his parents and his wife Kealia, holding their infant son Koa.
“You have always been so generous and kind and loving to everybody around you, and you never forgot who you were,” Kealia Watt said. “I know Koa will be so proud to be your son.”
When video of J.J. Watt’s emotional response to the video emerged on Twitter, he responded saying that it was one of the greatest gifts he had ever received.
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