May 25, 2024

‘I’ve got his number ready to go’

Watt spent a decade with the Texans before finishing his final two pro years with the Arizona Cardinals. He retired at the close of the 2022 campaign. Houston already inducted the legendary pass rusher into their Ring of Honor last season.

Ryans was asked what circumstance he could envision where he might call Watt. The coach deftly avoided answering the specific question.

“I need him now!” Ryans said, chuckling. “I need to make that call right now. Anytime J.J. Watt’s ready to go, I’m ready to go.”

The entire back-and-forth is a cute story for May. And while no one questions Watt’s ability to return after more than a year away, if the Texans need the future Hall of Famer, things went horrifically sideways.

Houston spent the offseason adding to Ryans’ defense, including shelling out big money to Danielle Hunter and adding Denico Autry on the interior. If Will Anderson takes the expected step forward in 2024 and Hunter stays healthy, the Texans’ pass rush should be menacing.

The reality is Ryans will spend the next eight months not truly considering making that call to Watt. But it’s always good to know a HOFer will take your call if a true “in case of emergency break glass” situation ever does arise.