The J.J. Watt era is over in Houston.
The star pass rusher announced Friday he asked for and was granted his release from the Texans after 10 seasons.
“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 on his Twitter account.
Watt was one of the NFL’s top defensive ends over his decade in Houston, earning five first-team All-Pro selections and three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Injuries limited Watt to three games in 2016, five games in 2017 and eight games in 2018, but he appeared in every game for the 4-12 Texans this past season, tallying five sacks, 17 quarterback hits, one interception, seven passes defended and two forced fumbles.
Once his release becomes official, the soon-to-be 32-year-old will be free to sign with any team he chooses. He no longer is the game-wrecking defender he was earlier in his career but still could be a valuable addition to a team in need of pass-rushing help (like, say, the New England Patriots).
“I’m excited and looking forward to a new opportunity, and I’ve been working extremely hard,” Watt said. “But at the same time, it is always tough to move on.”