J.J. Watt announced Friday that he asked for and will be granted his release from the Houston Texans.
"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," Watt said in a video posted to his Twitter account.
The star defensive end was drafted by Houston in the first round of the 2011 draft and was elected to five Pro Bowls during his time with the team. Watt had one more year left on the six-year, $100 million deal he signed in 2015. By cutting the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, the Texans won't have to pay his $17.5 million salary in 2021.
"Change is never easy, especially when it involves the ones you love," Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair said. "J.J.'s impact on not only our organization, but the entire Houston community, is unlike any player in our franchise's history. I told J.J. earlier this week that we will forever consider him a Texan. We take solace in knowing that this is not a goodbye but a 'see you soon.' For now, we will build upon the foundation that J.J. created here and forge ahead with our unwavering mission to bring a championship to our city, create memorable experiences for our fans and do great things for Houston."
One of the most respected players in the NFL, Watt helped raise millions of dollars for Hurricane Harvey relief after the storm devastated the Houston area in 2017.