In January, when DeMeco Ryans interviewed for the Houston Texans head coaching position, J.J. Watt put his stamp of approval on the decision for all to see on social media.
"As rookie in Houston, I bought my first house across the street from DeMeco because if Meco thought it was the right place to live, it was the right place to live for me," Watt wrote. "Captain, leader, smart, tough, personable, crushed it as DC…He will be a great head coach."
Ryans, named 2006 Defensive Rookie of the Year, earned First-Team All-Pro honors and two Pro Bowl berths during his playing career in Houston. Like Ryans, Watt didn't wait long to start accumulating the accolades. In just his second season, Watt earned the first of three AP Defensive Player of the Year awards (2012, 2014-15) and the first of five First-Team All-Pro nods (2012-15, 2018). The two teammates only overlapped for Watt's rookie season in 2011 but remained close even after Ryans left.
"Yeah, J.J. [Watt] has always been a humble guy – hard-working, humble guy," Ryans said. "We were neighbors there for a little while. He's just a great, great human being. A great teammate – I remember driving to team dinners with him – doing a little carpool. J.J. has always been a friend of mine, a guy that I truly respect. I know he respected me. For me, when J.J. came in as a rookie, me being a captain on this team, him wanting to move to the same neighborhood – it means a lot that a guy looks up to you, respects you. And still, that mutual respect for J.J. – I can't think of another guy who's had such a great career, done so much in the league that he's respected by everybody in the league, just by his style of playing and the man that he is. You can't say enough good things about J.J."
The Texans will be inducting Watt into the Ring of Honor at halftime during Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.