J.J. Watt Praises Titans Owner, but Won't Ease Back Sunday


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt said he's "forever grateful" to Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk for her generous donation to his hurricane relief efforts.

But that doesn't mean he'll throttle back on Sunday against the Titans.

"You know, I can't," Watt said with a laugh on a conference call with Nashville media on Wednesday morning. "It's tough. I am going to tell her beforehand I apologize for whatever happens on the field, but I appreciate the donation nonetheless, and I hope the check still clears."

The check was for $1 million, of course.

Strunk, the team's controlling owner, said she couldn't just stand by and watch her hometown of Houston suffer after Hurricane Harvey, so she donated $1 million to Houston flood relief efforts started by Watt. The donation was in addition to the $25,000 the Titans Foundation donated the Red Cross.

Watt said Strunk's generosity left him "speechless," and he hopes to talk to Strunk before the game. Watt initially set a goal of $200,000 for his fundraising efforts, and the total is now up to roughly $37 million.

"She was very early in the process -- she was the first person to donate such a large sum of money," Watt said of Strunk. "When it happened it was really hard to describe the feelings I had, because this was the owner of a rival organization who obviously has ties to Houston, but it's Tennessee.

"For her to stand up and show that type of support, that type of commitment, it was incredible. And there really weren't words to describe it and I still don't have the proper words to say thank you. But it was such an incredible gesture and I'll forever be thankful to her for that.

"To hear her say the words she was going to donate $1 million, it left me speechless and it obviously speaks volumes to her as a person and her character and I am forever grateful."

Watt, in his seventh NFL season, has been a terror against the Titans.

In 10 career meetings, he has 15.5 sacks, six forces fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

On Sunday, the Titans will aim to slow him down. Watt will face Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota for the first time in the game. Mariota has only faced the Texans once in his career, and Watt didn't play in that game.

"I think he has done a great job so far in his time in the league," Watt said of Mariota. "And their offense as a whole has done a great job. I think they have the No.2 rushing attack in the league right now and between their offensive line, their running backs and then obviously Marcus being able to throw the ball and move the ball with his feet, they present a great challenge. They are a very good football team."

TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Houston Texans. (AP Photos, Donn Jones)

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