The Texans voted on three new captains on Wednesday at their midseason point. It came as no surprise that defensive end J.J. Watt was one of them.
"Happy for J.J.; not surprised," Texans linebacker Connor Barwin said. "I think everybody knew that was going to happen with the way he's played."
Watt leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks, just 3.5 shy of the Texans' single-season record with eight games left to play. He also leads the team in tackles for loss (18), quarterback hits (21), passes defensed (10) and fumble recoveries (two). He's on pace for 21 sacks and 20 passes defensed this season.
Now, the second-year star from Wisconsin will have a captain's patch on his jersey the rest of the way.
"It's an honor," Watt said. "More than any media member can say anything about me, first and foremost is always the respect of your teammates, so that's why it's such an honor. I'm going to do every single thing I can to make my teammates proud every single week and help this team win games."
Watt called it "great" and "very humbling" to earn the captaincy from a vote of his teammates.
"It's very motivating for me," he said. "I want to go out there and prove that I earned that 'C' and that I deserve that 'C.' It's one of those things that's going to make me work even harder in the weight room, in the film room, on the game field, on the practice field, to make my teammates proud, to make this city proud, to my make family proud."
Watt's torrid start to the season has earned him widespread acclaim around the country. He was a unanimous midseason pick by various websites and publications for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
"It's great, but they don't hand out trophies after 13.1 miles of a marathon," Watt said. "I think it's an honor, but it really doesn't mean a whole lot me. What matters to me is the end of the year, the end of the season. While it's great and I respect everybody's opinions, I have much bigger goals."