GLENDALE, Ariz. (WFLA) – Just two days after playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL star, Cardinals’ defensive end J.J. Watt announced his surprise retirement in the sweetest way.

Watt, who just became a dad announced his departure from the NFL with a heartfelt message to his son on Twitter.

“Koa’s first ever NFL game. My last ever NFL home game. My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and pleasure. 🙏,” Watt captioned the pictures of his family and newborn son.

His announcement comes after the Cardinals’ 19-16 overtime loss against the Buccaneers on Christmas night.

Watt, 33, began his collegiate football career at Central Michigan before transferring to the University of Wisconsin – his dream school.

He decided to forgo his starting spot at Central Michigan and scholarship to walk-on at Wisconsin where he played as a defensive end.

Following his collegiate career, the Houston Texans picked up Watt as a first-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft. He spent 10 seasons with the Texans before signing with Arizona as a free agent in 2021.

During his 12-year tenure in the NFL, Watt has been named to the 1st team All-Pro five times and has five Pro Bowl selections. In 2017, he was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. He is also one of three players to be named the Defensive Player of the Year three times, joining Lawrence Taylor and Aaron Donald.

Watt will leave the game as one of the most dominant defensive players of his generation. Since he was drafted in 2011, there are only three other players that have more sacks than him (Von Miller, Cameron Jordan, and Chandler Jones).

According to ESPN, he has 111.5 sacks (26th on the NFL’s career list) and is the only player to record 20-plus sacks in multiple seasons. Watt also set the record for career sacks for the Texans with 101.

Watt’s career will come to a close after two road games – the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers.