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Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has spent the week in the Middle East visiting troops at U.S. military bases on the NFL-USO Tour.
Before leaving Afghanistan to return to the United States, he had a message for Texans fans back home.
"I miss you guys," Watt said Wednesday morning on the phone from the Middle East. "I'm looking forward to the season. I can't wait. I know I'm itching to play again. We're going to have a lot of fun.
"One thing I want to say about all this to the Texans fans is anytime you see a troop, anytime you see a military member, make sure you say thanks. Just remember that these are real people over here fighting. What you see on the news, what you see on TV, obviously, is pretty generalized. At the end of the day, you have to remember that these are real people with families and they put their lives on the line so we can do what we do and live free every day. So make sure you try and say thank you and make sure you keep them in your thoughts."
Watt wasn't totally removed from Texans fans while in the Middle East – far from it, in fact. Many of the troops at the bases he visited approached him with Texans gear in hand.
"I've come across a lot of Texans fans," he said. "A lot of people, when they come out to see us, they know we're coming, so they're bringing out their Texans sweatshirts, the hats, the banners, and its' been really cool. I've even seem some cool handmade Texans stuff over here. There are definitely a lot of fans over here. It's pretty cool to see the support."