The Houston Texans are expecting a major boost on Saturday when they host the Buffalo Bills in the first AFC wild card game: They activated pass-rusher J.J. Watt off injured reserve this week and moved him back onto the 53-man roster.
Watt returned to practice last week, less than two months after suffering a torn pectoral in an October 27 game against the Oakland Raiders.
Fiery practice speech
Via the Houston Chronicle, Watt delivered a speech to his teammates during practice on Tuesday, once he’d been officially activated.
“I’m glad to have him back for sure,” Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil said. “You should have heard that speech he said at practice. It kind of gave us chills. It was a good speech. It’s great to have a leader like J.J. Watt back. Let’s go.”
Watt, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year, has been wearing a protective harness to reduce the risk of hurting his surgically repaired pec muscle.
Leadership, quarterback hits
If he picks up where he left off at the time of his injury, Watt will provide a lot for Houston. He had four sacks and a league-leading 21 quarterback hits in eight games. Houston’s pass rush has struggled without him.
“I think activating J.J. is huge, mentally, spiritually, for sure,” teammate Bradley Roby said. “He's a big part of this city, on and off the field. He's a leader for this team. I think his mere presence out there will affect the game in a great way.
“He's a leader. You always want to do better with a guy like that on the field.”
More from Yahoo Sports: