It has been some time since J.J. Watt has been close to getting back on the field and at the start of training camp, he was a full go during the opening practice. Watt is trying to overcome a back injury and show he can be the player he was, the player who locked up three defensive player of the year awards before the slew of injuries. Watt was clearly thrilled to be back on the field, playing the game he loves and being around his teammates.
“It was good, it was good. It felt good,” Watt stated. “It’s just good to be back on the field, be back playing football, be back with my teammates. It’s just – it feels good. It feels like where I belong.”
The Texans will monitor Watt over camp and during the preseason to make sure that they keep him in one piece for the regular season. Expect some days off during this stretch which is not uncommon for some of the veterans during training camp.
“Practice,” Watt said with a smile. “I like being able to be on the football field. We’ll be smart about it from here on, we’ll take days off here and there, but it’s just nice to be playing football.”
Prior to practice, Watt was playing four squad with his defensive line teammates. He was seen was laughing with his teammates and smiling more than ever, the wistfulness stemming from missing the majority of last season with his back injury. He is convinced that he has grown more as a person than a football player by watching the game from afar last year.
“I went through some tough times there last year, but I just really enjoy being out there with my teammates,” Watt explained. “I really enjoy playing football. I really enjoy the fans. I enjoy every aspect of the game so I’m just really thankful to be able to be out here and playing.”
It has been a long stretch for Watt to get back to meaningful work on the football field and today seemed to be the most Watt has smiled on the football field in some time. There is plenty of ahead but it was a good start for Watt, getting back and doing what he loves.
“Yeah, obviously it’s been a long time coming,” Watt said of finally getting back on the field. “We’ve done a lot of work to get to where we are, but today’s just the beginning. Today’s just day one and I’m really looking forward to stacking up days and, like I said, I just really enjoy being with my teammates.”