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J.J. Watt thinks he has many more good years left in him

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 17: Grand Marshal,l NFL playe,r JJ Watt poses during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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With Tom Brady set to play this season at age 42 and Drew Brees at 40, some of the NFL’s biggest stars are playing at advanced ages. But playing quarterback and playing on the defensive line are very different.

So how realistic is it to think that J.J. Watt, who turned 30 this offseason, could keep playing for several more years?

Watt thinks it’s very realistic -- and after saying last month that he views his injury-plagued 2016 and 2017 seasons as a blessing in disguise, he reiterated those comments to ESPN recently.

“I don’t want to leave the game any time soon,” Watt said. “I love it. Hopefully, we can say that I had two less years of pounding on my body, I had two less years of wear and tear, so that means two more years on the back end. I feel good right now. I’m excited about the season ahead. I’m excited about the team that we’ve got and the guys that we’ve got. I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I get to go around and chase a ball for a living and they pay me to do it. I couldn’t be any luckier.”

Watt’s passion and work ethic make it easy to see him playing a long time. Maybe not as long as Brady or Brees, but perhaps Watt could look to match Julius Peppers, who retired after playing last season at age 38. We may just have several more good years to watch the best defensive player of his generation.