NFL Trade Rumors: Legendary Defensive Lineman J.J. Watt Hints at Possible Comeback

A retired NFL legend may be feeling the itch to return. Speaking with SportsRadio 610, five-time All-Pro and three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt alluded to the possibility of returning to the Houston Texans "if they absolutely need it."

Watt last played for the Texans way back in 2020, but his relationship with new head coach DeMeco Ryans dates back to Watt's rookie season. Ryans was a star linebacker and veteran leader for the Texans when they drafted Watt with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Watt retired following the 2022 season, but he was still a remarkably effective player at the time. In 16 starts with the Arizona Cardinals, he logged 12.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, and seven pass deflections. Unfortunately, injuries were a persistent issue over the back half of his career: He played eight of fewer games in four of his final seven seasons.

Watt wouldn't be the first NFL legend to make a dramatic comeback after a year away from the game. In 2020, longtime New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski reunited with quarterback Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after retiring for a year. The pair won a Super Bowl together that very season.

Given the Texans may be embarking on the most exciting era in their franchise's history thanks to 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud, it should be no surprise Watt's tempted by a taste at glory. Still, now at 35 years old, Watt's best days are far, far behind him. A comeback would be absolutely thrilling, but it's unlikely it could drastically alter the Texans' fortunes.

Photo Credit: © Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports