J.J. Watt has been granted his request to be released from the Houston Texans.

Watt was drafted by Houston in the 2011 NFL Draft as the No. 11 pick. Watt emerged as a star for Houston, being selected to five Pro Bowls. Additionally, the defensive end is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of The Year. The skilled pass rusher is one of three players to win the defensive player of the year three times.

Watt posted a Twitter video early on Friday giving his thanks to the Texans and fans. “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. “The way that you guys have treated me, besides draft night.” The star humorously added the draft because he was booed, “I mean, you guys booed me on draft night, but every day after that, you treated me like family.” He capped the sentence with heartwarming words of “I truly feel like you’re my family.”

Texans CEO Cal McNair’s statement complimented the five-time Pro Bowler, stating, “J.J.’s impact on not only our organization but the entire Houston community, is unlike any player in our franchise’s history.” McNair went further to say, “I told J.J. earlier this week that we will forever consider him a Texan.”

For now, the former Texan is excited for his new free agent status. “I’m excited and looking forward to a new opportunity, and I’ve been working extremely hard,” Watt said. The defensive end will most likely end up signing with a Super Bowl contender. Earlier last season, Watt had made it clear that he did not want to be on a rebuilding team, “I’m not looking to rebuild, I’m looking to go after a championship, and that’s what I want to do.”

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