The Houston Texans stumbled out of the gate to a 1-6 record, fired their coach/GM, and looks very much like a team starting over.
Rebuilding isn't much in the mindset of 31-year-old star pass rusher J.J. Watt. A decade into his NFL career, the three-time Defensive Player of The Year has no time left for hefty renovation plans.
Watt was asked Wednesday if he believes he'll finish his career in Houston.
"I don't think it's any secret that I don't have 10 years left in this league," Watt said, via Sarah Barshop of ESPN. "I personally believe that I do have a few more great ones left in me. But you also can't ... I'm not looking to rebuild. I'm looking to go after a championship, and that's what I want to do. So, whatever is in the best interest of the Houston Texans, that's in the best interest of myself."
It doesn't take a professional tealeaf-reader to understand that Watt might see his time in Houston come to an end.
The veteran defensive lineman has one season left on his contract extension, worth $17.5 million. With none of that money guaranteed, sides could agree to a clean break in the event of a massive rebuild next offseason.
With no first- or second-round pick next year, any rebuild could take time in Houston after it hires its new general manager and coaching staff.
Players like Watt, who have done so much in the Houston community, obviously prefer to win with the franchise they have committed their careers to. After six AFC South titles but just four playoff wins, Watt isn't blind to the fact that it could take more time than he has left for Houston to claw its way back to the top of the division.
"Early in your career, you think life goes on forever," Watt said. "Obviously, we win our first-ever division, our first-ever playoff game in my first year. In the second year, we go 12-4, and you think that life's going to be great and you're just going to keep getting better and better. And then you go 2-14 and the reality of the business side of the NFL and the reality of all the things that come along with it hit you in the face. And you realize that, oh, this isn't all roses all the time. And then you look at the last seven years or so. And yeah, we won some division championships and that's great, but that's not the goal. That's not the goal.
"And your goal can't be to make the playoffs. Your goal can't be to win one or two playoff games. If your goal is not to win the Super Bowl, and your goal is not to do everything in your power to make that happen, and make your organization in the best possible situation for that, then that's not going to happen. So that is my goal. That's why the work goes in. That's why I fought back from all these injuries. Because that's the goal, and that's what I'm still working towards."