J.J. Watt isn’t going to break his body playing football until he gets dragged off the field.
Speaking on 610 AM radio in Houston Wednesday morning, Watt made it clear he’s not going to be that guy. Instead, he will only play as long as he continues to be one of the best in the NFL, as James Palmer of NFL Network relayed:
Watt said he'll only play as long as he's playing the game as one of the best in the NFL.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) April 6, 2016
This means Bruce Smith’s sack record could be safe.
In five years, Watt has put up numbers nobody dreamed possible from a defensive lineman who plays inside the tackle more often than not. He’s racked up 74.5 sacks in this short period of time, meaning if he played for 15 years he’d smash Smith’s 200 career sack mark.
However, if he doesn’t play that long and goes the way of Calvin Johnson, retiring around the age of 30 before his body falls apart, then Watt would likely end his career around the 125-sack mark, leaving him well short.
Another way to look at this would be to consider Watt’s outstanding physical conditioning and relentless training regimen. He works as hard or harder than any other player in the NFL during the offseason to keep his body in peak physical shape.
This means that, just maybe, Watt could be one of the top players in the league for years to come.
If that’s the case, then Smith’s record isn’t as safe as it currently appears. If any player in this current generation has what it takes to play at an elite level for as long as it takes to put up more than 200 sacks, it’s Watt.
And when his career is finally at an end, he can kick back and relax with his own special brew from the fine folks at Guinness, who recently crafted a unique blend for the All-Pro defensive lineman.