Arizona Cardinals defensive end J. J. Watt announced his retirement in December. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 11 (UPI) -- J.J. Watt, one of the most-feared pass rushers in NFL history, was brought to tears by a retirement tribute video, which included messages from his family, Arizona Cardinals teammates and fellow football stars.
The NFL and Cardinals posted the footage, which was recorded on HBO's Hard Knocks: In Season, on Tuesday night. Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph met players in a meeting room Saturday for the viewing.
Watt, who played his final game Sunday, announced his retirement in December.
"J.J., you are playing in your last game tomorrow night," Joseph said to the room full of players. "[Defensive line] coach Matt Burke had a great idea. You are going to love this, I hope."
Watt's brother, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt, made the first cameo in the tribute video.
"Brother, I just want to say congratulations on retirement," the Steelers star said. "You, in your resiliency throughout all the ups and downs, you ending up in the NFL and you being a Defensive Player of the Year and all the success that you had, showed me that it's possible."
Watt's other brother, Derek Watt, who plays fullback for the Steelers, also made a cameo in the tribute. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and NFL legend Peyton Manning were among the other current and former players to congratulate Watt in the video.
HBO cameras caught Watt shedding tears and putting his head in his hands throughout the viewing of the tribute video. Cardinals players also gave Watt a round of applause.
Hard Knocks: In Season: The Arizona Cardinals will air at 10 p.m. EST Wednesday on HBO.
Watt, 33, logged 39 total tackles, 25 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks in 16 starts this season. The five-time Pro Bowl selection, five-time All-Pro and three-time Defensive Player of the Year totaled 114.5 sacks over his 12-year career, which ranks 24th since the statistic became official in 1982.
The Miami Dolphins' Jason Sanders (C) lines up to kick the game winning field goal against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on January 8, 2023. The Dolphins defeated the Jets 11-6 and secured the final playoff spot
in the AFC. Photo by Thom Baur/UPI | License Photo