Former Wisconsin star JJ Watt released by the Texans

Former Wisconsin star JJ Watt is a free agent.

The defensive end posted a video on social media Friday morning announcing he had asked for his release from the Houston Texans and they had granted his request.

Watt was the Texans first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft after he earned All-Big Ten honors as a junior at Wisconsin in 2010. He went on to be just the third person to be named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times while piling up 101 career sacks. Injuries have played a big part in the second half of his career but he has played in all 16 games in two of the last three years.

The 31-year-old Watt is now free to sign with any team he chooses. He has talked throughout his career about his admiration for the Green Bay Packers growing up and his experience of going to training camp.

“I went to one day of training camp (as a kid) and I watched from the fence,” Watt said at the American Family Insurance Championship in the summer of 2019. “I went over to the parking lot and threw a t-shirt over for autographs. I did all of that and I watched them bike over. I’ll never forget looking through that fence and just thinking to myself, those guys do this for a living. That to me was one of the coolest things in the world. I literally couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that they got to play football for a living.”

The Packers and Texans practiced against each other during training camp in 2019. Watt spoke about that opportunity prior to it happening.

“For me to go back there and to practice there and to be able to play in Lambeau, I think it all comes full circle for me,” JJ said. “It’s going to be a really, really cool experience. I’m more excited that we’re playing a preseason game there than I am a regular season game because I get to do the practice experience and kind of live out that dream that I had as a kid.”

With Green Bay’s salary cap issues, it’s unlikely he would end up back in Wisconsin unless he was willing to take a lower salary than he’s worth or sign a contract that would be back-loaded. Another potential landing spot includes Pittsburgh where his two brothers, TJ and Derek, play for the Steelers.