J.J. Watt is a Houston Texan, but he got a strong welcome by his home state faithful in Monday’s scrimmage at Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The Texans participated in a couple of scrimmages against the Green Bay Packers on Monday and Tuesday.
Watt, who is from Pewaukee (a two-hour drive from Green Bay), and a star player at the University of Wisconsin, was treated as an honorary Packer. He took on the tradition of riding a youngster’s bike to the practice field, although his big frame caused the bike’s seat to break.
“The bike that I was using was not equipped for a 290-pound man, and the seat broke off. We have purchased a new bike for the boy,” Watt said. “So, I apologize for that. But it was cool. It’s one of the coolest traditions.
“Growing up here I know how special it is to get to interact with a player from the Green Bay Packers as a kid growing up in Wisconsin. For them to have that tradition where kids get to be up close and personal with their favorite players and they get to hold their helmet, that’s what it’s all about. Those are the memories that those kids are going to have for a lifetime.”
Watt scrimmaged in the first scrimmage on Monday, but didn’t participate in the second one on Tuesday after saying he tweaked a groin muscle.
Watt wasn’t the lone Texan player having a homecoming. Rookie offensive lineman Max Scharping also is from Wisconsin, and played his high school football a few miles away.
As far as the first scrimmage with the Packers, the Texans did look well on offense and had its moments on defense.
“It was great competition,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “You're going against an excellent team, a very well-coached team, a team that has a lot of really good players. A lot of great situations came up. We see different looks, different schemes on both sides of the ball and on special teams. So, it was really good.”
The two teams will now prepare for the first preseason game of the 2019 season on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
O’Brien also talked about his decision to waive running back D’Onta Foreman, who was quickly picked up by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday.
“I think any time you're trying to make a decision in the best interest of the team. We've got some guys that are playing pretty good at that position and we had a need at some other positions. That's just what we decided to do. We wish D'Onta the best. He's a good guy, he's got talent, and we wish him the best.”