Anytime you can say you passed the likes of Reggie White in terms of on the field performance it really means something. J.J. Watt received a gift Thursday to help him never forget it.
On Sunday, Watt became the first NFL player to ever record 14 sacks and 14 passes defended in a season. He wasn't done there. By the end of the game Watt became the first player to ever have 15 sacks and 15 passes defended in a season. By Wednesday night, after being awarded an additional sack in the Titans game, Watt's totals read 16.5 sacks and 15 passes defended. When Watt batted down his 14th pass in the first half, he passed Reggie White for the most passes defensed by a lineman in league history. Watt said he grew up idolizing White, and that's why when a framed autographed jersey of White's was left in his locker, he was almost at a loss for words.
“Oh man, it’s one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever received," Watt said. "Growing up, idolizing Reggie, obviously breaking that record this weekend, it was crazy. It was really, really neat. It was a great gesture by Ryan Reichert, a huge thank you to him. That’s going to be one of the prized possessions in my house hanging on my wall right next to my football from last year’s interception for a touchdown. Like I said on Sunday, it’s almost incomprehensible that I’m in a category with that guy and it’s an honor.”
Reichert is the former team director of security and the gift came from his personal collection. But Reichert's gift wasn't the only one that Watt received on his early Christmas this Thursday.
"I walked into the locker room after I did a little workout after practice and it was sitting by my locker," he said. "It was funny because I had received something earlier today from the Blue Angels which was really cool."
Yes, those Blue Angels. The Angels gave Watt an autographed replica helmet and several patches.
"I got a little package from the Blue Angels, the Navy flight team," Watt said. "I was telling somebody in the locker room, I got a lot of bad dudes on my side. I got the Navy Seals and the Blue Angels so you don't want to come mess with me. One phone call."
It appears that Watt's famous post sack salute has found him a few friends and admirers from the armed forces. Just what a man who stands 6'5" and comes in at 295 pound needs, extra back up.