The Arizona Cardinals activated five-time All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt off the physically unable to perform list on Monday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
After joining the Cardinals in March, Watt participated in Arizona’s offseason program, but when he began experiencing hamstring tightness late last month, the franchise opted to sideline him for a few weeks to open training camp.
Watt told ESPN’s Lisa Salters during Arizona’s second preseason game that he was ready to return to the field, adding that the team had been taking his recovery slowly to prevent further injury.
Watt played all 16 games last season for the Houston Texans, recording five sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hits, seven passes defended and an interception.
The Texans and Watt mutually agreed to part ways after the 2020 campaign. The 32-year-old spent 10 seasons in Houston, earning five Pro Bowl selections, five All-Pro selections and three Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
Watt is one of many key defensive pieces for the Cardinals entering the 2021 season, including Chandler Jones, Zaven Collins, Isaiah Simmons and Budda Baker, among others.
In addition to Watt, the Cardinals activated Dennis Gardeck off the PUP list after he tore his ACL late last season. Wide receiver Andy Isabella was also activated off the COVID-19 list.
Arizona has one more preseason game against the New Orleans Saints before opening the regular season against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 12. It’s unclear if Watt will appear in that game.