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J.J. Watt named to TIME's most influential people list

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J.J. Watt stepped up in the face of tragedy to lead a massive effort to help the city of Houston recover from one of the most devastating hurricanes the U.S. has ever seen.

Watt was honored for his efforts by the NFL, which gave him the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in February. Perhaps an even greater honor was bestowed upon him this week, when TIME magazine named him to its annual list of the world's 100 most-influential people. The publication released 2018's edition of the prestigious list Thursday.

"Every few years, a professional athlete touches the heart and soul of a city in a way that has nothing to do with athleticism," Houston mayor Sylvester Turner wrote in TIME. "Such is the case with Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, who is a star on and off the field.

"Hurricane Harvey was a historic storm that dumped more than 50 inches of rain, damaged more than 300,000 homes and shattered lives. As Houston's mayor, I led the response and resiliency efforts. But government can't do everything for everyone. J.J. tackled Harvey's destruction the same way he obliterates his opponents on the football field. He raised more than $37 million for hurricane recovery and delivered water, food and supplies to storm victims. In the process, he lifted the spirits of all Houstonians.

"Who knows? After I leave office, J.J. Watt could be drafted as the next mayor of Houston."

Watt will first have a stellar football career to finish (including returning from a broken leg), but his aforementioned efforts -- obliterating an initial $200,000 goal by raising $37 million and becoming the face of a city battered but not beaten by Harvey -- will likely forever resound among Houstonians.

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