SANTA CLARA, Calif. — NFL great J.J. Watt played his final NFL game Sunday, ending a remarkable 12-year career that should land him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
Though the Arizona Cardinals came out on the losing end against San Francisco, Watt still sacked Niners’ QB Brock Purdy twice, giving him 120 ½ for his 12-year career.
Editor's note: You can watch the full J.J. Watt special in the video window above on KHOU 11+ on Roku and FireTV
As he walked off the field for the final time, the San Francisco crowd gave him a standing ovation.
After the game, Watt talked about going out while he can still play.
"I know I still can," Watt said. "I'm just choosing not to. That's all."
Watt spent the first 10 years of his career in Houston, becoming one of the most dominant players to ever suit up. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times and was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times. He also scored touchdowns seven times in his career.
Watt announced his retirement from the NFL on social media last month.
But Watt was as much a force off the field as he was on the field. Some of what Watt did off the field is below.
In September 2017, Houston experienced one of its worst natural disasters -- Hurricane Harvey. Dozens of lives were lost and thousands of people's homes were destroyed as flooding rain fell across Houston for nearly four days straight.
In the midst of the storm, Watt created a fundraiser to help those impacted, even kicking off the fundraiser with a $100,000 donation. His goal was to raise $200,000 to help those in need but at the final tally, he raised more than $41 million with donations from around the world.
According to Watt's foundation, two years after Harvey the donations helped:
- Clean up, repair and rebuild over 1,183 homes
- Recover and rebuild 971 childcare centers serving more than 108,731 children
- Distribute over 239 million meals to those affected
- Provide mental health services to over 8,900 individuals
- Distribute prescriptions to over 337,000 low-income and uninsured patients
Assisting shooting victims
The Santa Fe High School shooting was another tragedy that shocked the community. Ten people died and 13 more were injured after a student opened fire inside the school. Most of the victims were students.
Watt offered to pay the funeral expenses for all of the victims.
It's unknown if Watt indeed covered the funeral expenses for the victims, but at least one of the victim's families accepted his offer.
If there's one thing Watt fans know -- he loves the kids!
One person that can attest to that is Cristian Beasley. He first met Watt when he was just 12 years old and battling Leukemia.
One day, Watt surprised Beasley and spent an entire afternoon at his house. Years later, when Beasley graduated high school, in true J.J. fashion, he tweeted about the proud moment, calling Beasley his friend.
“I watched every game, and I texted him after every game," he said.
And during game day, you could find him interacting with the crowd, playing catch with kids in the stands, whether it was a home game or away.