It would almost make too much sense, right?
JJ Watt — three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year — filling a defensive assistant job (linebackers coach) on a staff with his former head coach (Bret Bielema) and former teammate (defensive coordinator Aaron Henry).
Hell, Watt himself spoke it into existence for us Friday.
I bet you know a guy! I see you getting the DC gig!! You deserve it bro. Absolutely loved taking the field with you and can’t wait to watch your defense play this year. Miss you brother!— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) December 31, 2022
In case you’ve been under a rock the week between Christmas and New Year’s, Watt, a Wisconsin native and former Badger legend, announced he plans to retire after this season.
That led to an outpouring of support and recognition from the football world, including new Illinois DC Aaron Henry.
.@JJWatt— Aaron Henry (@AaronHenry7) December 28, 2022
Congrats on a Hall Of Fame Career
It was a real pleasure sharing the field with you once upon a time!!
Good Luck On the Next Chapter in Life bro!!! If you ever decide to get into coaching I know a few guys!!!
Wink !!Wink!! https://t.co/NpIS8F8EVg
The odds JJ ends up coaching at Illinois? Slim to none.
Yes, the Illini have the spots open after Ryan Walters and Kevin Kane hitched a ride to Purdue and Henry was promoted up the food chain in Champaign.
But after a taxing 12 years in the NFL, it’s more likely Watt wants to spend some time with his growing family — his son Koa is adorable — head back to Pewaukee, and focus on his other philanthropic efforts.
Coaching certainly seems like a future endeavor for Watt, one of the greatest defensive players in the NFL history, but right now, even with the circumstances in place for success with the Illini, I wouldn’t bet on it.
It’d be cool, though!
P.S. In researching for this article, I found this tweet from 5 years ago from JJ:
Randomly thought about the 04-05 Illinois BBall team today. Deron Williams, Dee Brown, Luther Head, James Augustine... that team was— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 13, 2017
JJ is an Illini fan confirmed.