WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — J.J. Watt learned of his brother T.J. Watt’s big game on Friday night from an unlikely source.
The Houston Texans star checked his phone after a team meeting to see a text from Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar alerting him to the T.J.’s work in Pittsburgh preseason game.
“It was the most crazy thing in the world,” J.J. said.
According to J.J., the text said: “I see your little bro out there ballin’. Hope all is well.”
But since he’d been in meetings all evening, he had no idea what happened. So J.J. immediately Googled his younger brother’s name and understood why Lamar was so excited.
“I check it out and it said two sacks in four plays ,” J.J. said. “So I texted him so he could see after the game what Kendrick said. I just thought that was the craziest thing in the world to see one of the best rappers in the world, possibly the best rapper in the world, text me about my little brother.
The performance of T.J., who was the 30th overall pick in this year’s draft, had J.J. reevaluating his work in Houston’s first preseason game on Wednesday when he didn’t have a tackle in limited work in his return after missing most of last season after back surgery.
“Two sacks in four plays made me question myself, because I played four plays the other day — so a little disappointed,” J.J. said with a laugh.
A good chunk of the media coverage of T.J.’s work on Friday night involved comparisons between him and J.J., including on ESPN where they did a split screen of T.J.’s sacks on Friday and some old sacks by J.J. But Houston’s star defensive end said he and his brother are so close that it isn’t a big deal for T.J. to be in his huge shadow — for now at least.
“We love each other so much and we appreciate and respect each other so much that it doesn’t really bother him,” J.J. said. “And he’s going to make a name for his own and someday they’re going to drop the `J.J.’s little brother tag.’ But for now you guys can feel free to keep reminding him about it.”
J.J. was able to watch the later parts of Friday night’s game and admitted to having mixed emotions.
“I didn’t know how to feel because the Steelers are an AFC team,” he said. “I want my brother to do good, but then I’m like, wait a second here I don’t like how this all works out. So I literally didn’t know what to do.”
He contemplated sending a tweet congratulating T.J. on a great first game, but since he didn’t really want to come across like he was rooting for a team besides the Texans, he chose to simply tweet three sets of eyeball emojis and T.J.’s twitter handle.
While many eyes were on T.J. on Friday night, a huge focus for Houston this season is if Watt can return to form this season after missing the first games of his NFL career last season. He’s healthy and for now is just excited to be back on the field with the Texans preparing for the season.
“It feels awesome just to be a football player again and just to not have to worry about any other stuff,” he said. “To go out there, to play, to let it loose, to have fun. I really enjoy it. I love it … I love being able to represent our team, represent our city and be out here with the guys and be able to put on a show.”