J.J. Watt will soon join several other legendary players who spent the final days of their NFL careers with the Arizona Cardinals.
This past week, the great J.J. Watt informed the Arizona Cardinals that he was retiring from football. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been a breath of fresh air from day one, and has set an example both on and off of the field for his Cardinals teammates.
Of course, Arizona fans would’ve been much happier if Watt would’ve spent more than two campaigns with the organization. Assuming the 33-year-old gets through the next couple of Sundays unscathed, Watt’s entire stint with the Redbirds will have consisted of 23 glorious appearances.
Despite the small sample size, the franchise and it’s fans should feel completely honored by the fact that Watt is calling it a day with the team that we love. The following are four additional legendary players who spent the final days of their professional career in a Cards uniform.
Player #1: Emmitt Smith – Running Back
Most of the league’s observers knew that the sensational Emmitt Smith was close to the end when he flocked to the Cardinals back in 2003. Even so, there was excitement in the air when the eight-time Pro Bowl running back inked a two-year deal with the Redbirds following his exodus from the Dallas Cowboys.
Smith’s first season with Arizona was utterly forgettable. A broken scapula cost the 5 foot 9, 221 pounder six contests, and Smith finished the ’03 campaign with just 256 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
The 35-year-old Smith was actually serviceable in 2004, when he totaled 1,042 yards from scrimmage and nine scores in 15 starts for “Big Red”. The Florida native finally retired in February of 2005, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years later.