WATT A LOSS

J.J. Watt announces his release from Texans in heartfelt video

J.J. Watt announces his release from Texans in heartfelt video
So Watt's next? Composite image by Jack Brame.
Skip and Shannon lay out why JJ Watt's latest comments are so concerning

It was the news Houston Texans fans have been dreading. And so, it came from the hometown hero himself.

"I have sat down with the McNair family and I have asked them for my release and we have mutually agreed to part ways at this time," J.J. Watt announced in a Twitter video on February 12.

Appearing in what appears to be his home or his getaway cabin, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and face of the team since 2011 described being "a kid from Wisconsin who had never been to Texas before.

Sporting a white cap and University of Wisconsin sweatshirt, he joked about being booed by Texans fans on draft night in 2011, but "...every day after that you've treated me like family and I truly feel like your family," he added.

Watt then said that he worked every day to earn fans' respect and make them proud on and off the field. "You guys have given me everything and more and I can only hope you feel like I've given you everything I have."

The future Hall of Famer expressed his love for this "unbelievable" city, noting that this is where he met his wife (soccer star Kealia Ohai) and made lifelong friends and teammates. He praised teammates, the front office, and the most humble of team staff.

He also gave a shout out to fans who would stop him everywhere, even those showing up at his house. "The connection is special," Watt said, adding that he would "never ever" take it for granted.

So Watt's next? The superstar said he was "excited and looking forward to a new opportunity," but added that it is "tough to move on." He thanked the team, McNair and family, adding a warm, "thank you Houston, I love you."

Watt is one of only three players in NFL history to win at least three AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Awards, in 2012, 2014, and 2015. He leads the league in tackles for loss (172), quarterback hits (281), multi-sack games (26) and sack yards (713.5), while ranking second in sacks (101.0). In 2020, Watt, who led the NFL in sacks twice (2012 and 2015), became the fourth-fastest player in NFL history to total 100.0 sacks, doing so in just his 120th career game, per team stats.

Famously in 2017, he raised a massive $41 million in Hurricane Harvey relief aid.

"Simply put, there has been no person in the past decade who has made a greater impact on the Texans organization than J.J. Watt," said co-founder and senior chair Janice S. McNair, in a statement.

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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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