T.J. Watt reveals recruiting tactic to lure brother J.J. out of retirement

Three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt has said numerous times it would have been a “dream” to play with brothers T.J. and Derek.

J.J. retired last year without ever fulfilling that dream.

But it did almost come true in the middle of this season. The future Hall of Famer admitted he was “monitoring” the situations of the Houston Texans and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

J.J. spent 10 of his dozen seasons with Houston, while T.J. plays for the Steelers.

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Watt brothers

T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers, left, and Houston Texan J.J. Watt prior to a game at NRG Stadium Oct. 1, 2023, in Houston.  (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

The older brother said he visited T.J. midway through the season, and that was the first time he genuinely missed football. He later joked that the Steelers lost the following three games.

But J.J. also mentioned that he was only returning to a team that was a legitimate contender, which is why the only way T.J. could recruit his brother was to win.

“I was trying to win as much as possible. I knew that was going to be a big factor,” T.J. said in a recent interview with Fox News Digital. “At the end of the day, all those business decisions are separate from that. He was staying ready just in case, and, obviously, it didn’t come to fruition.”

T.J.’s aches and pains the next day helped the elder Watt return to reality.

J.J. said he was able to go for a walk and get coffee rather than get treatment and deal with soreness like his younger brother.

TJ Watt vs the Ravens

T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after recording a sack during a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium Jan. 1, 2023, in Baltimore. (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

“I think, in hindsight, he’s happy he didn’t have to come back and deal with all the soreness and things,” T.J. said. “He’s not living a bad life at all.”

T.J.’s Steelers did sneak into the playoffs but lost in the wild-card round without him after he injured his knee Week 18. Although his run to the Super Bowl fell short, T.J. is still in Las Vegas for the big game to give an opportunity of a lifetime.

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Ahead of likely being named the 2024 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. is giving Adam Alexander, a wounded war veteran, tickets to the Super Bowl. Alexander was given just a 5% chance to live after he was attacked by an enemy sniper in Afghanistan.

Watt, along with other NFL stars, partnered with USAA to gift military veterans tickets to the big game.

JJ Watt in PA

Former NFL player J.J. Watt visits the set of the Amazon Prime TNF pregame show before a game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium Nov. 2, 2023, in Pittsburgh. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

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“These people are fighting for our freedoms,” he said. “I get to play football and do what I love for a living because these guys are giving the ultimate sacrifice to our country. So, I have the utmost respect for them, and I’m super appreciative and proud of this partnership.

“Just to show my gratitude at the end of the day, these guys are the ultimate heroes, and they deserve way more of the limelight than we do.”

If Watt wins the DPOY Award Thursday, the Watt brothers will have combined to win the award five times.

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