NFL star J.J. Watt’s first love was hockey


J.J. Watt. (Patric Schneider/AP)

Let’s all take a moment to imagine a world in which J.J. Watt is a professional hockey player.

At 6-foot-5 and 289 pounds, the face of the Houston Texans and one of the most dominant players in the league wreaks havoc on opponents every Sunday.

Just imagine what the NFL star could do on skates.

It’s not a far-fetched idea, really — Watt, 26, has called hockey his first love, and played through most of his childhood.

The Wisconsin kid start playing hockey at age three, and told The MMQB’s Peter King that his years growing up playing the game were “some of the best years of my life.”

“I wasn’t always this big, so I was more of a center back then and a goal scorer,” Watt told King in 2013. “Loved the game. Still do. I love the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s one of my favorite sporting events.”

Watt has about as much personality as he does muscle (um, a lot), and it showed in ESPN’s feature on him, which aired on Oct. 20.

In an E:60 Extra clip, the Texans defensive end gave viewers a glimpse of his life off the field — and on the ice — when he took the camera crew to a local Wisconsin rink he frequents during the off-season.

“It’s a different kind of workout, it works different muscles,” Watt said in the clip. “It’s also a chance for me to just go out there and have fun. I love hockey.”


This isn’t the first time he’s laced up his skates on camera. He also showed off his hockey skills during a University of Wisconsin charity hockey game in June. And, like a true hockey player, he also dabbles in golf.

As for his favourite NHL player? Take a wild guess.

Zdeno Chara — he’s representing for all us big guys out there,” Watt told King. “I love him. I love his physical brand of hockey.”

Again. Just imagine.

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