You know that low-key, cool and collected J.J. Watt you see on TV commercials all year? The guy with one of the highest Q-Ratings in sports with a reputation as stellar off the field as on it? The NFL star has a fiery side too. According to multiple reports, Bill O’Brien was on the receiving end of Watt’s ire recently. They reportedly had a huge blowup on the practice field, and if there’s any question as to who is the most powerful presence on that team, O’Brien ended up getting fired. And he was both the coach and general manager.
The incident went down leading up the Houston Texans’ Week 3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Watt was asked about the incident this week but chose to look forward rather than back. “I don’t know,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about what happened at practice or what conversations were had or whatever it may be. The situation is what the situation is. We right now have a fresh start and we had a good practice today. We’re looking forward to Jacksonville.”
It wasn’t all about the future though, as Watt did take a moment to pay his former coach a compliment. “The one thing I’ll say about Bill O’Brien is he always stood up for his players. Certainly, he tried to do whatever possible to support his players and give his players the absolute best support. And I truly believe that he always did what he believed was best for this football team. So I don’t have ill will at all. But I do look forward to a fresh start.”
O’Brien was fired by the Texans on Monday, becoming only the third NFL coach in the past 10 years to be fired before week 5. Romeo Crennel, who was the team’s assistant head coach, was named the interim head coach for the remainder of this season. If he wants to make that position long-term, he would be wise to not tick off Watt.