HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Texans defensive end J.J. Watt carved out time during a typically busy gameweek to watch his ESPN E:60 special, “Never Given.”
Count the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year among those impressed and even moved by the emotional tale of his life.
“That was my first time seeing it,” Watt said. “Really, really well done. I texted the producers and just said, ‘Thank you,’ because it’s something I’ll be able to hand to my kids someday.”
The documentary piece, nearly a half-hour long, chronicles Watt’s journey from small-town Wisconsin boy to Division I castoff to death within his family and now, to household name.
Poignant and informative, the special shows Watt trying out for high-school quarterback, struggling to ride his bike as a five-year-old and practically declaring himself an NFL player all the way back in elementary school.
It followed him right on through to his professional breakthrough, as he’s been the most dominant defensive player in the game during his four-plus year career. He’s become a mega star thanks to his versatile game and humble personality, landing him in commercials and across magazine covers everywhere you look.
That’s a long way from the roots shown in the E:60 piece, and Watt was grateful his time aspiring to be under the most intense spotlight will be forever chronicled.
“Going through such a crazy time in my life and everything I get to go through right now, there’s no way I can document it all,” Watt said. “And so for them to be able to go through and do it in such a special way — especially the thing at the end honoring my grandparents — it really meant a lot to me.
“I lived through everything and it still brought tears to my eyes, so it was truly incredible and something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
Watt said he still has especially vivid memories of losing out on that QB competition in high school. He’s thankful for that failure now.
“I can throw the deep ball and that’s about it,” Watt said. “Andy stole the job from me and that was all. I still can’t throw short passes. I can throw a 70-yard ball all day long, but I can’t throw a bubble screen to save my life.
“I was very sad that day. I’m very happy today.”
Watch “Never Given”: