Sports

J.J. Watt apologized to Deshaun Watson after Texans’ last game: ‘We wasted one of your years’

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson led the NFL with 4,823 yards passing this season, landed third in completion percentage (70.2) behind Aaron Rodgers (70.7) and Drew Brees (70.5) and threw 33 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. He earned his third Pro Bowl selection with the best statistical campaign of his career.

Despite Watson’s best efforts, the Texans finished 4-12, tied for the third-worst record in the league with the Falcons. Only the Jaguars (1-15) and Jets (2-14) racked up more losses, but both of those teams were projected to be terrible, whereas Houston had legitimate playoff hopes.

MORE: NFL playoff picks, predictions for AFC, NFC brackets

That’s why longtime Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt felt the need to apologize to Watson after Houston dropped its Week 17 contest against Tennessee. As Watt and Watson were walking off the field at NRG Stadium, the 31-year-old was caught on video telling his QB, “I’m sorry. We wasted one of your years.”

Watt added that the Texans should have had 11 wins this season. The Colts and Titans, both AFC South foes, each totaled 11 wins on their way to the 2021 NFL playoffs.

Now with an ugly year behind them, the Texans need, as Watson put it, “a whole culture shift” under new leadership. Houston fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien in October after the team started 0-4.

“We just need new energy,” Watson said Monday when asked what he wants from the next coach. “We just need discipline. We need structure. We need a leader so we can follow that leader as players. That’s what we need.”

As for Watt, he may not be part of that culture moving forward. The former Defensive Player of the Year has one year remaining on his current contract, but the Texans could cut or trade him to save significant money.

“Like I said this week, there’s too many unknowns to really know [if this was my last game with the Texans],” Watt said after the regular-season finale. ”But if it is, I really — it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t in front of a full stadium and all the fans, and it’s unfortunate it wasn’t a win. It’s unfortunate it was in this type of a season. But who knows?

“Like I said, there’s a lot of unknowns. But I think this city knows — I hope they know — how I feel about them and how thankful I am. I’ve tried to do everything I possibly can and give everything I possibly have.”

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