Through 10 seasons, five Pro Bowls and three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards– JJ Watt has always been No. 99.
Coming to an agreement this offseason, Watt and the Houston Texans front office mutually decided to part ways. With that decision came some uncertainty around his classic No. 99 jersey.
The veteran defensive end’s first task was finding a new team. On Monday, Watt signed a two-year, $31 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
His second task was figuring out the uniform situation. The No. 99, formerly worn by running back/fullback Marshall Goldberg, is just one of five numbers retired by the Cardinals franchise to honor its legends.
While at first it seemed like Watt may have had to change up his brand, the predicament has since been solved.
On Tuesday afternoon the Cardinals’ official Twitter account released a video of Watt speaking to fellow star DE Chandler Jones. The No. 99 has officially been brought out of retirement.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) March 2, 2021
Earlier today, reports from TMZ Sports revealed that Goldberg’s daughter, Ellen Goldberg Tullos, was fine with Watt reviving her father’s number.
“He has my blessings,” Tullos said, “and I’m sure my father would be more than delighted for him to carry it on. . . . I know dad was really honored when they retired his number but also he’s always respected other players. And if J.J. Watt had the number 99 with him for a long time and it meant something to him, I think he’d be delighted to let him use the number and unretire or whatever the proper word would be.”
Through his playing career with the Chicago Cardinals from 1939-1948, Goldberg earned four All-Pro honors and helped led the team to an NFL Championship in 1947. While the running back was unable to give his blessing (passed away in 2006 at 87 years old), this video released by the team confirms that Watt spoke with Golberg’s family directly.
Seeing Watt in Cardinal red will certainly be jarring at first, but at least he’ll still be rocking that No. 99.
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