Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has made acquaintance and developed friendships with late former U.S. president George. H.W. Bush and movie star Arnold Schwartzeneggar. It takes a lot to make Watt feel star-struck.
The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year had that exact feeling on June 4 when he had the occasion to meet Green Bay Packers legendary quarterback Brett Favre at NRG Stadium as part of the NFL’s 100th anniversary celebration where current players get to meet their childhood favorites.
“I really don’t get star-struck a whole lot,” Watt told the media Tuesday during the first day of veteran minicamp. “When I look back on my childhood in the state of Wisconsin, growing up a kid and athlete, there was one hero. It was Brett Favre, it was Reggie White as well for me. But in the state of Wisconsin, almost every single person owned a No. 4 jersey.”
When Watt had the chance to meet Favre, it brought him back to Sunday afternoons in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
“To actually meet him and to think back on the days when we would turn on the television and watch the Packers every Sunday or I’d be in the car driving to a hockey tournament and we’d listen to it on the radio,” said Watt. “I can still hear the play calls, I can still remember the plays. That day, that moment, meeting him, for me, was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had because it not only was a chance for me to ask my childhood hero questions about moments, about plays, about games, but it also made me step back, which I haven’t done in a while.”
In taking a step back, for Watt, it helped him realize just how far he had come about to enter his ninth NFL season at age 30 years old.
Said Watt: “I haven’t really taken that all into perspective lately. I think that that was a really cool day for me because I was in middle school, elementary school, watching him and thinking ‘how crazy is that?’”
While Watt visited with Favre, who played for the Packers from 1992-2007, the former Texans first-round pick told the Super Bowl XXXI champion about how he went to Packers training camp at Lambeau Field and marveled at the fact the players were paid to play pro football.
“I watched practice one time, and I said ‘Can you believe that that’s their job? They get to play football for a living,’” Watt said.
Now, Watt gets to be a part of that incredible profession.
If there was one comparison Watt had for Favre, who grew up in Kiln, Mississippi, it was to former Texans punter Shane Lechler, who is from East Bernard, Texas, and has the same Southern sensibilities as Favre.
“He reminds me a lot of Shane Lechler, too, so it was like hanging out with one of my best friends,” Watt said.
The feature with Favre and Watt will air on NFL Network at some point during the regular season.