What's in a number? HoustonTexans.com is taking a look back at the numerical roster of the franchise, and going over every number that's been worn in team history. From the memorable ones like 99, 80, and 4, to some that might not ring a bell, we've got them all covered.
J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin, 2011-18
Watt was the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and has worn the number 99 since arriving in town. It'll be awhile, if ever, before some else wears it after him. Three times an NFL Defensive Player of the Year, five times a first-team All-Pro, and in 2017 the Walter Payton Man of the Year, Watt's put together a remarkable career.
A steady rookie campaign gained steam in the month of December, and then took off in the franchise's first-ever playoff run. His pick-6 against the Bengals turned the tide in what had been a neck-and-neck game. The next week in the Divisional Round loss at Baltimore, Watt had 2.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and led the defense with a dozen tackles in the 20-13 defeat.
In 2012, Watt earned the first of his three DPOY awards by leading the NFL with 20.5 sacks and 39 tackles for loss. He also batted down 16 passes, and helped key Houston to a 11-1 start. The Texans wound up 12-4, and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
The next season was a struggled for the Texans, as they slid to 2-14. Watt, though, was still a first-team All-Pro, racking up double-digit sacks and tackles for loss.
2014 saw Watt again post 20.5 sacks. He also added 29 tackles for a loss. But he found the end zone five times that season, returning an interception for a score, a fumble for a touchdown, and catching a trio of passes for scores as a goal-line tight end on offense. He unanimously won his second Defensive Player of the Year award, but also got 13 MVP votes. It was the first time this century a defensive player got more than three votes for the award, which was won that year by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Watt fought through a slew of injuries in 2015, but still managed to lead the NFL in sacks (17.5) and tackles for loss (29) en route to another Defensive Player of the Year award.
Injuries cut short his 2016 and 2017 seasons, but he returned with a vengeance in 2018, leading the Texans defense with 17 sacks and forcing an NFL-best seven fumbles en route to another first-team All-Pro selection.
Off the field, he's been a giant. Through his J.J. Watt foundation, almost $6 million has been raised for after-school youth sports programs around the country. During Hurricane Harvey, he spearheaded a campaign that raised more than $40 million for relief efforts, and his actions earned him the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. During the Coronavirus pandemic, he and his wife Kealia donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank.
Tim Jamison, DE, Michigan, 2009-10 (Jamison also wore #96)
After Adewale Ogunleye (see below) left following Week 8 of 2010, Jamison would wear 99 for the remainder of the 2010 season. As part of the defensive line rotation, he would see action in the final nine games of that year and sacked Tim Tebow in a Week 16 loss at Denver the day after Christmas.
He would switch back to 96 a few months later, when J.J. Watt was drafted 11th overall by Houston. Originally an undrafted free agent in 2009, Jamison spent six seasons as a Texan and finished his career with 5.5 sacks, 59 total tackles and six tackles for a loss.
Adewale Ogunleye, DE, Indiana, 2010
In the final season of a 10-year NFL career, Ogunleye spent four games in the early half of 2010 with Houston. He had a quarterback hit on Peyton Manning in a Week 8 Monday Night Football loss at Indianapolis, and two tackles total in the three games prior.
A Pro Bowler in 2003 with the Dolphins, he had 15 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and five pass deflections that year in Miami.
Travis Johnson, DE, Florida St., 2006-08 (Johnson also wore # 75)
Selected in the first round at 16th overall out of Florida State, Johnson would play four seasons in Houston before a 2009 trade to San Diego. He tallied six tackles for loss as a rookie in the number 75. After Smith departed for Tennessee in 2006, Johnson got the number 99. He started eight games that year, 13 the next, and 14 in his final campaign with the Texans.
He finished his Houston career with 111 total tackles (13 for a loss) and three sacks. Since retiring after the 2010 season with the Chargers, he's been in Houston and is a Texans Ambassador.
Robaire Smith, DE, Michigan St., 2004-05
A free agent signee in the offseason of 2004, the defensive lineman started all 32 games in his two seasons with the Texans. In a December 19 contest at Soldier Field, Smith led off the game by stuffing Thomas Jones for no gain with some help from linebacker Jamie Sharper. Later in the contest, he'd tally a sack of Chad Hutchinson. Houston would triumph 24-5 in the coldest game in franchise history. The temperature at kickoff in Chicago that day was 12 degrees, with a wind chill of minus-8.
Smith batted down 13 passes, registered 3.5 sacks, had 16 tackles for loss and 120 total tackles in the pair of years spent with Houston.
Steve Martin, DT, Missouri, 2003
Started eight games in the franchise's second season and played in 14 total. Sacked Tom Brady for a loss of eight yards on New England's first play from scrimmage in Week 12. Also logged a pass deflection, two tackles for loss and seven total tackles in a 23-20 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champs. The former Missouri Tiger spent nine seasons in the NFL, starting 51 games and appearing in 127 contests total.
Willie Blade, DE, Mississippi St., 2002
Claimed off waivers by Houston in early September of 2002. Was inactive until getting released on Christmas Eve.