Tough rehab had J.J. Watt worried about playing football again

HOUSTON — Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said there was a point during the offseason when he didn’t know whether he’d ever play football again.

After the Texans’ 30-0 loss in the wild-card round of the playoffs to the Kansas City Chiefs, Watt had major surgery in Philadelphia in January. Watt said he had five muscles repaired and both of his lower abs had to be reattached. He also had to have his abductors (one right and two left) reattached.

As he lay for 10 straight days in a Philadelphia hotel room, Watt said he was overwhelmed with the rehab process and his inability to even walk or get out of bed.

And even though he underwent back surgery just before the start of training camp, Watt said there was no doubt in his mind that he would be ready to play in the regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears.

“No, there was never a doubt,” Watt said. “Those guys were awesome in helping me and also awesome in being willing to have an aggressive approach. After a surgery, the rehab can go one of many ways, and these guys were willing to accept my aggressive style, and we did it in a smart fashion, but we did it in a way that we knew that this really wasn’t going to be an issue.”

Watt has not missed a game in his five-year NFL career, playing in 85 consecutive games, including the playoffs.

Watt has not missed a game in his five-year NFL career, playing in 85 consecutive games, including playoffs. Watt has played in 89.9 percent of the Texans’ defensive snaps since he was drafted in 2011, which is the highest percentage among all defensive linemen, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Since 2012, Watt has played in 92.8 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

And so, though Watt said the coaching staff might be cautious and put some limitations on what he can do or how long he can play, he plans to fight to play as much as he has in the past.

“I’m sure that they are going to try to put some limitations on me and we are going to have that conversation here as the week goes on,” Watt said. “The way that I felt in the last two practices, I don’t feel it’s necessary. My body feels great. My conditioning level feels great.”

Watt said this has been a tough offseason after going through two surgeries and two rehabs, but it has changed his perspective to not take his health for granted.

“It definitely gives you a new outlook, kind of a fresh approach,” Watt said. “You see things from a different light when you’re going through stuff like that and you go through the ups and downs.

“There have been some days where it has sucked, where it absolutely sucked, but I really enjoyed the adversity that we faced and I enjoyed having to overcome those things and challenges that I really haven’t had before. I hope to never have an offseason like this again. But I definitely learned and grew from it.”

“When I was in Philadelphia after the first surgery, there were some days there where I really questioned whether or not I’d ever be able to play again,” Watt said. “Just some of the stuff we were dealing with from a rehab standpoint. And just the way that the recovery was going early on.”

Snapchat helps Tony McDaniel land spot with Seattle Seahawks

Eventually, in part because of a calf injury to nose tackle Sealver Siliga, the Seahawks agreed. McDaniel worked out for the team Monday and signed a contract, Canter said.

McDaniel, 31, started 29 games for the Seahawks in 2013 and 2014. The team released him last August, and McDaniel signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He will have to compete for a roster spot in the weeks ahead.

Serena Williams will enter the US Open with even more question marks after pulling out of the Western & Southern Open on Monday.

Williams, the two-time defending champion in Cincinnati, cited a right shoulder injury, the same setback that forced her to withdraw from the Rogers Cup in Montreal last month.

For more than three years, Serena Williams has been the No. 1 player in the land, but that could come to an end — and at the worst possible time.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Everyone in American basketball circles understands that there will never, ever be another Dream Team.

That’s easy to accept.

Far less pleasant for the latest assemblage of Team USA hoopsters to stomach is the growing realization that even their dream scenario here at the Summer Olympics, which was presumed to be pretty attainable, continues to dribble out of reach.

Winning in style is no longer the target.

Winning, period, is the sole aim now.

USA Basketball’s Rio roster is unquestionably stronger than the one stocked with fill-ins that dominated the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, but opposition continuity is proving to be a stubborn and dangerous equalizer a mere two years later down here in South America. Although a clutch of perennial powers have all creakily descended from their respective peaks — namely Spain, Argentina and the hosts Brazil — no longer is Team USA expected to roll like so many know-it-alls worldwide presumed when we got here.

Greg Hardy visits, works out with Jaguars

Greg Hardy could be headed back to the NFL.

The defensive end visited and worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday and Thursday, NFL Media Insider Rand Getlin reported, according to a source familiar with the visit. Despite the workouts, no signing is imminent, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the Jacksonville’s plans.

Hardy was suspended 10 games during 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the league, however, the suspension later was reduced to four games on appeal.

After returning to the field, Hardy embarked on 12 tumultuous games with the Cowboys last season. Dallas showed little interest in bringing him back despite his six sacks with the team. He has been a free agent since March, attracting little interest.

Hardy’s 2015 suspension came following a two-month investigation by the league into Hardy’s 2014 domestic violence incident involving ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder. Hardy was arrested on charges of assault on a female and communicating threats in May of 2014. Hardy’s legal case in North Carolina state court was dismissed last February after the accuser in the case couldn’t be found.

By contrast, Greg Hardy totaled 15 sacks for the Carolina Panthers in 2013, then played just one game in 2014 after the team placed him on the commissioner’s exempt list after his own domestic violence incident. In 2015, confident Hardy would help their pass-rush, the Dallas Cowboys signed him to an incentive-laden contract.

Rice has been working out in Stamford, Conn., near his home, and has been visiting colleges as well as the Ravens to tell his story.

“The only way to fix the problem is awareness. It’s an epidemic,” Rice said of domestic violence. “I know that my situation raised awareness. I’m not thankful for being that guy, but I’m thankful for the people that now are not afraid to ask for help, because I had to go get the help myself after to realize the severity of what domestic violence is.”

The verbal slap fight between Odell Beckham and Josh Norman continues unabated.

During a Facebook Live chat with Business Insider reporter Scott Davis on Thursday, Norman was asked about Beckham’s potshot in an upcoming issue of GQ about the Redskins cornerback gaining relevance in NFL circles, only due to the ongoing feud between the two players.

“I don’t even know how you respond to that other than laugh,” Norman replied, via the Washington Post. “I don’t know what you get out of that. I don’t know, man. There’s a time when people who honor themselves will fall short, so when that day comes, we’ll just see.”