J.J. Watt has met a long list of celebrities in his eight-year NFL career. However, when he met his childhood hero, former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, Watt admits even he had a rare bout of being star struck.
"When I look back on my childhood in the state of Wisconsin, growing up a kid and athlete, there was one hero," Watt said. "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. 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. I can still hear the play calls, I can still remember the plays."
The two met last week as part of a new NFL Network series that airs this fall, where current players meet their childhood sports idols. The series is just one part of a yearlong celebration highlighting the NFL's 100th anniversary.
The three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year, who grew up in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, shared his story of attending Packers training camp as a boy.
"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 here I am, and I get to do it."
Now coming off his fifth First-Team All-Pro season, Watt had the chance to sit down with Favre and discuss football and his memories growing up watching the Packers.
"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," Watt said. "It made me kind of step back and look at where I am and how far I've come and how fortunate I am to be where I am. I haven't really taken that all into perspective lately."
Watt will have a chance to participate in the Packers training camp when the Texans travel to Green Bay for joint practices in August. The Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers will open their 2019 preseason on Thursday, Aug. 8 at Lambeau Field.