J.J. Watt elaborated on his decision to retire after the 2022 season when speaking to reporters Wednesday.
"It feels like the right time," Watt said. "I've put so much into the game and the wins and the losses, the mental stress and passion that comes with it, it just weighs on you. It's heavy, I mean, it's really heavy."
The five-time All-Pro has 9.5 sacks in a bounce-back season, but playing at a high level didn't deter him from leaving.
"I'd much rather go out playing good football knowing that I could still play and knowing that hopefully people remember me playing good football than to go limping out, being forced out, and knowing that I probably should've done it earlier," he said.
Watt, who became a father in October, said he wanted to spend more time with his wife and newborn son rather than devoting "all my energy" to football.
"I'm ready to watch my son grow up," Watt said. "I'm ready to spend more time with my wife. I'm ready for a new challenge, whatever that new challenge may be. I'm looking forward to seeing what else is out there."
While Watt never got to play in a Super Bowl, the future Hall of Famer said he's "walking away with nothing but love and gratitude."
"I literally lived out a dream that millions of people would kill for," he said. "I have a job that anybody would love. I literally get to do things that I never in my wildest dreams thought I could do. I may not have a trophy, but I'm doing alright, and I'm extremely thankful."