J.J. Watt Saw 'A Flood of $99 Donations' to His Charity After Texans Release

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2021

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2021, file photo, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) waves to fans as he walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Houston. Watt is gone from the Texans and Deshaun Watson wants out, too. The Texans have been making plenty of headlines this offseason. Not one has been good. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

J.J. Watt announced Saturday his foundation, which funds middle school athletic programs, received a flurry of $99 donations following his release from the Houston Texans on Friday.

Watt thanked fans—including those from other fanbases who wrote messages urging him to sign with their favorite teams in free agency—for their support on Twitter:

JJ Watt @JJWatt

Waking up this morning to a flood of $99 donations to @WattFoundation from Houston and cities all over the country (presumably attempts at bribes, judging by the messages attached with some 😂) Kids all over the country will benefit from your generosity. I’m truly thankful. 🙏🏼 https://t.co/FEayOgrh9n

The J.J. Watt Foundation launched in 2010 with the slogan "Dream Big, Work Hard." It has donated over $6.3 million to athletic programs around the United States over the past decade.

"Our mission is to provide after-school opportunities for middle-school aged children in the community to become involved in athletics, so that they may learn the character traits of accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic, and perseverance, while in a safe and supervised environment with their peers," the mission statement reads.

The foundation was also involved in receiving donations after Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area in 2017. Watt started the quest by asking for $200,000 in support—and ended up getting over $41 million.

In August 2019, Watt provided a two-year update, saying the money was used to rebuild more than 1,100 homes, distribute over 239 million meals and make numerous other charitable endeavors:

JJ Watt @JJWatt

Hurricane Harvey Relief: Two Year Update. https://t.co/7UgjPfu6fy

Watt was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2017 for his efforts.

Watt, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, has already received widespread interest after his 10-year run with the Texans ended.

ESPN's Ed Werder reported the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans are among the approximately 12 teams that have shown interest.

The 31-year-old Wisconsin native is free to sign at any time but could take his time to hear pitches—the Steelers can offer the chance to play with brother T.J. Watt—before making a decision as he continues to hunt a Super Bowl title.