Will J.J. Watt ever be the same? ‘I’m just focused on today’

As the regular season approaches, J.J. Watt knows there are questions about his health and return to the football field. There’s one he has been asked several times this offseason and during training camp.nfl wholesale jerseys free shipping

Even if he can stay healthy, will the Houston Texans’ three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year be able to play at the level he has in the past?

Though Watt has had plenty of time — “the last two years were not fun,” he said — to think about that while he’s spent the past 10 months working his way back from a broken leg, he said he hasn’t given much thought to the answer to that question because “it doesn’t help. It doesn’t do anything for me.”2

“I’m just focused on today,” he said. “I’m focused on tomorrow. I know what expectations I have for myself but … any way I answer that question, I’m screwed. You want me to say, ‘Yeah, it’s going to be incredible,’ then you’re setting insane expectations. I say, ‘No, I think I’m going to suck,’ that doesn’t bode too well for myself either.

“There’s really no good way to answer that question. … Through all my injuries, that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned, is control what you can control. All I can control is today; workouts, practice, meetings, and then tomorrow I’ll be able to control that.”

Watt, who didn’t play in the preseason opener against the Chiefs, has been a full participant in practices during training camp (with the occasional planned day off) and says there’s “no doubt” he’ll be playing in the season opener at the Patriots on Sept. 9 (1 p.m. ET, CBS).wholesale nfl jerseys free shipping

He has played in just eight games in the past two seasons because of injuries. He played three games in 2016 before aggravating an injury that required a second back surgery in less than three months. Then last season, just as the Texans’ star defensive end was starting to play more like the Watt of old, he broke his left leg in Week 5 against the Chiefs.

Those injury woes came after Watt put together a four-year stretch of dominance rivaling that of any defender in NFL history. From 2012 to ’15, he was named first-team All-Pro four times, a Pro Bowler four times and NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times and led the league in sacks twice. However, his last sack came on Sept. 18, 2016 — almost two years ago — and if the Texans are to be contenders again, they need their star causing havoc.