JJ Watt has put together a stellar NFL career that should one day land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Watt has been a cornerstone piece for the Houston Texans throughout his nine-plus seasons in the league. He has donned an elbow brace throughout much of that time, and here’s why he has gone that route.
JJ Watt’s impressive NFL career
Since being selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, JJ Watt has put forth a Hall of Fame-caliber career.
Watt has become one of the best defensive players in the league, with numerous impressive accolades to his resume. The 31-year-old has won three Defensive Player of the Year awards, earned five Pro Bowl selections, five First-Team All-Pro nods, and led the league in sacks twice. He is tied with Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor for the most Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Although Watt has played one full season over the last four-plus years due to numerous injuries, he has remained an elite talent. He earned his 100th career sack this season and will continue to add to that total. With all that in mind, it begs the question as to why he wears an elbow brace.
Why JJ Watt wears an elbow brace
JJ Watt has put together some highly productive seasons throughout his NFL career, but that has also seen him experience his fair share of injuries.
Watt has worked past many of these significant injuries, but one of which has led him to don an elbow brace when he plays. He suffered a left elbow dislocation that resulted in torn ligaments in training camp in August 2012, which he initially chose to wear the brace for protection.
He temporarily shed the equipment but chose to go back to it after experiencing some soreness in his elbow. The following August, he voiced that he wasn’t bothered by the brace and would wear it moving forward. (H/T NFL.com)
“I just want to be smart with it. I put (the elbow) through a lot of work over the last week,” he continued. “It’s done a lot of work without the brace for the first time in a long time, so I’m bringing the brace back just as kind of a security measure, you know, to make sure it stays secure and it stays safe.”
Watt proved that to be the case in the 2014 campaign, as he piled up 20.5 sacks for the second time in his career. His strong production earned him his second NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Since then, he continues to wear the device for added safety has helped him avoid any setbacks with his elbow.
Future in Houston in question?
JJ Watt has continued to perform at a high level in the 10th season, but his future in Houston has come into question.
These inquires are not due to his play, but instead, maximizing his talent on a championship-contending team. Watt is in the fifth year of his six-year, $100 million deal. The final year of his contract has no dead-cap hit for his $17.5 million salary, which could lead the Texans to consider cutting him to avoid that cap hit.
Watt has voiced a strong level of frustration with the team’s shortcomings this season but hasn’t expressed a desire to play elsewhere. Things can certainly change next offseason, but there doesn’t appear to be any internal push to play with another franchise.
Several other teams, such as the Green Bay Packers, who play in his home state of Wisconsin, could make a strong push to land him next offseason. The entire situation should see more clarity in the coming months.