Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt announces NFL retirement after 12 seasons


Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt announced Tuesday that this will be his last NFL season, sharing the news in a Twitter post about his newborn son.

The tweet shared pictures of Watt with his son Koa and his wife Kealia at Arizona’s last home game of the season, which was on Christmas Day this past weekend. Watt tweeted: “Koa’s first ever NFL game. My last ever NFL home game. My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure.”

Watt leaves the NFL after a 12-year career that includes three defensive player of the year awards, seven All-Pro selections and five Pro Bowl selections.

The 33-year-old was drafted with the No. 11 pick in the 2011 draft by the Texans, with whom he spent the first 10 seasons of his career. He holds franchise records in sacks (101), forced fumbles (22), tackles for loss (172) and quarterback hits (282). He led the NFL in sacks in both 2012 and 2015, and racked up 20.5 sacks in both 2012 and ’14, making him the the only player in NFL history to have multiple 20-sack seasons.

Watt will play his final two games in the NFL on the road starting with the Falcons on Sunday and then the 49ers in Week 18.

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