J.J. Watt looks to have a more optimistic attitude about surmounting his latest severe injury than he did when he was battling through back problems a year ago. Despite this being the Texans defensive end’s second severe injury in the past two seasons, the three-time defensive player of the year did not seriously consider retirement like he did when he was going through back rehab. Watt made it back and was playing at an elite level prior to his leg injury — officially a tibial plateau fracture — but he’s confident he’ll be ready to go once the 2018 season begins.
“Not yet; I know I’m not there yet,” Watt said on The Dan Patrick Show (via the Houston Chronicle) when asked if he was considering retirement. “… With my back, I was. But this time I wasn’t. This time I actually was never close. From day one I was always super-excited about this recovery. I was super-optimistic; I have a great attitude; I have a great attitude about it because the broken leg to me — the back was a little bit of an unknown — a broken leg I can understand. I feel great and I’m excited about the future.”
Now 28, Watt has four years remaining on the six-year, $100MM deal he signed in 2014.
Here’s the latest from the AFC on Super Bowl eve.
- Donte Moncrief‘s inconsistency last season frustrated members of the Colts organization, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. Moncrief is now an unrestricted free agent and joins several other receivers whose career profiles aren’t beacons of stability — like Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, John Brown and Jordan Matthews. This uncertain market could prompt the Colts, who as of now have Andrew Luck on the right track to return next season, to offer Moncrief a short-team deal to determine his legitimacy. Moncrief has shown a rapport with Luck, catching 14 of his 18 career TDs from the cornerstone Colt, but last season was playing behind Kamar Aiken in Indianapolis’ rotation.
- While the Browns will explore a Kirk Cousins contract, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com’s consensus after this whirlwind week is the team will eventually shift its focus to a bridge quarterback to pair with the signal-caller chosen at No. 1 overall. Given the near-$30MM-per-year requirement Cousins could come with, given a team like the Browns being likely forced to overpay in this scenario, she concludes the likely outcome will be the Browns pivoting to the likes of A.J. McCarron and whomever the Vikings don’t prioritize.
- The Ravens will hire more senior scouts to work with the personnel department in the near future, owner Steve Bisciotti said (via Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun). The team recently lost four scouts to the Eagles in Joe Douglas, Andy Weidl, Ian Cunningham and T.J. McCreight, with Preston writing they had a combined 55 years’ experience with Baltimore. Bisciotti made it clear the Ravens will be targeting experience when searching for scouting assistance. “I think that in retrospect, you can say you can’t lose those three scouts with 30 years of experience between the three of them and then hire 25-year-olds that are ready to give it the old try,” Bisciotti said, referencing some of the Ravens’ recent high draft picks that haven’t panned out. “I think that it shows that we have not done a very good job of filling in for senior people with senior people. So that’s something we’re going to address starting right now.”