After an MVP-caliber season, J.J. Watt said he wasn't ready for it to end.
Head coach Bill O'Brien, who doesn't like to discuss MVP voting and individual accolades, didn't downplay the significance of Watt's 2014 campaign.
"It's got to be one of the best of all time," O'Brien said Monday. "Again, I haven't been in this league as long as a lot of other coaches, but just being around Coach (Bill) Belichik in New England and how he would teach us about the history of the game. I know about the history of the game in many respects. J.J. had a year for the ages, no question about it."
Watt's statistics this season have been staggering: 20.5 sacks for a loss of 140 yards, 78 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 50 quarterback hits, 10 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, one blocked extra point attempt, and his first-ever safety.
When asked last week what his favorite memory of 2014 was, Watt responded that he didn't know - the season wasn't over yet. As players cleaned out their lockers on Monday morning, Watt reflected on his achievements. Watt, voted into his third-consecutive Pro Bowl this year, danced his way into record books when he became the first player to record 20 or more sacks in two different seasons. His final sack of the season, on a safety, was also a career-first.
"A safety is the one stat I never really recorded in college and in the pros," Watt said. "Now I've scored touchdowns, sacks, batted balls, fumble recoveries, but I never had gotten a sack (safety). To be able to check that off, and especially the way it happened to become the first player to ever do that, that was a special play and one of the most fun plays I've ever had on the football field."
O'Brien believes Watt's fun is just beginning. He expects a lot more from the All-Pro defensive end in the years to come. The two sat down Monday morning as O'Brien met with all the players in their exit interview.
"The thing that's great about J.J. just in talking to him this morning - and I'll keep most of the conversation between J.J. and I - but he knows there is a lot more out there for this team and for him," O'Brien said. "People may look at that and say, 'how much better?' Well, this guy, he's going to be out there, I best he takes two or three days off and he's back to work by the end of this week. I'm serious. This guy, that's what makes him who he is and I think he's a great example for young players."