J.J. Watt, now cleared for football, says he 'elongated' his career by missing 13 games

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt underwent multiple back surgeries last year. It forced him to play just three games, which was somewhat of a miracle in itself after he rushed back to return for Week 1.

Now, after just about a full season to recover from his herniated disc, Watt is ready to go. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year spoke to the media Wednesday in Houston and gave a very positive update on his condition. He's been cleared for football activities, which is a huge step in his recovery.

Watt on availability for OTAs: "I don't see why not. I've been cleared for football activities."

— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) February 1, 2017

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Watt, 27, also said he believes he elongated his career by missing just about all of 2016. That's certainly a positive development for the future of the Texans, if it's indeed true.

J.J. Watt said he actually thinks he's 'elongated' his career by missing most of last season with back surgery 'There's a whole new energy'

— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) February 1, 2017

He admits he probably didn't take it as slow as he should have after the initial surgery, attempting to get ready for the season opener.

Watt: "From this point forward, my offseason is a regular offseason with full training. I feel very good knowing I have many months ahead."

— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) February 1, 2017

Watt: "You can work hard, but you have to work smart. That was probably the biggest thing I've learned."

— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) February 1, 2017

Opposing quarterbacks should be weary of Watt next season because he hasn't hit anyone in quite some time, and he's ready to unleash that built up fire.

J.J. Watt on wanting to hit someone 'it's an insatiable appetite' said he's going to unload on someone and it's going to feel great

— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) February 1, 2017

The Texans will seemingly enter 2017 with Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus up front, which is arguably the best pass-rushing unit in the NFL. If Houston can find better quarterback play, the Texans will be dangerous.