After suffering a season-ending back injury almost nine months ago, J.J. Watt's rehab and recovery is nearly complete.
He's just waiting for training camp, when he can put on the pads and hit someone.
"I'm very excited," Watt said Wednesday. "I think it's something like 40 days until we go to training camp. I just can't wait. It's a great time and when you've been in the situation I've been in, all you want to do is put on pads and get out there and play football. I can't wait to get out there with my teammates, I can't wait to hit people and I can't wait to show our fans what we're working on."
The Texans wrapped up their offseason workout program with veteran minicamp this week. While no pads are allowed, OTA and minicamp practices felt "pretty darn close to hitting," according to Watt. The three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year was a full participant in practice, with some rest days scattered in between.
"He's doing great," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "I don't know what else to say. He's in great shape. You can just tell he just can't wait to put the pads on and play. He's a very difficult guy to go against when you're in full pads so imagine what it's like when you're not in pads. To be honest with you, sometimes you have to – and our offensive line has really battled hard and I've really been happy with our offensive line, but sometimes you have to get J.J. out of the practice just so you can complete a pass. You know what I mean? So, I think he's in great condition and I know he'll be ready to go."
Watt suffered his back injury in Week 3 against New England and was cleared for football activities earlier this year. Now in his seventh season, Watt will train in both Wisconsin and Houston before the Texans report to camp in July.
"I'll be back in Wisconsin for at least part of this time, yeah," Watt said. "My brothers and I will all be back there in Wisconsin for part of it, training with my trainer back there and then I'll come back down here probably a couple weeks before we leave for The Greenbrier and get back down here to train. It's coming quick."
The Houston Texans Training Camp presented by XFINITY will begin on Wednesday, July 26 at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. The 2017 training camp marks the first time in franchise history that the Texans will hold camp outside of the city of Houston.
Check out some of the best shots from the first day of veteran minicamp.