The drug-addled aftermath of a wisdom tooth removal is usually fertile ground for comedic recordings, but very few of us can claim that our post-op embarrassing moment included a future NFL Hall of Famer.
That was the case for the Arizona Cardinals’ rookie Canadian outside linebacker Jesse Luketa this week when news of three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt’s retirement reached him as he emerged from dental surgery.
Watt, who announced on Tuesday that he would be retiring at the end of his twelfth NFL season, told the hilarious story during his first media appearance following the announcement. A full transcript of the anecdote can be read below.
“I just kind of put my phone down [following the announcement] because I knew it would be crazy. I took my son to his pediatric appointment, went to this doctor’s appointment, and I’m coming home and I’m like, alright, let me check my phone. Literally, it’s just crazy. But I’m scrolling through it and there’s this number that I don’t recognize that FaceTimes me. And I’m like, alright, I’m not gonna answer a FaceTime I don’t know, so I just let it go to voicemail.
And then I get a text from that number and it’s a voice memo. And I’m like, who is this number? So I play the voice memo and it’s — I wish I could play it so bad. I wish so bad. I’m gonna ask him. I’m gonna ask him if I can later, I don’t want to now. And it is incoherent. Complete incoherence. And I’m like, what the hell is this? I literally thought it was distorted from the phone.
So 10 seconds later, a picture comes through and it’s Jesse Luketa, our rookie outside linebacker, and he has cotton balls in both [sides] of his mouth. He just got his wisdom teeth out. He’s high off his ass, he has no clue what he’s doing.
In the message, it says, ‘J.J., I just heard you’re retiring. All I want is a jersey at the end of the season.’ But it is incoherent. Like, beyond incoherent. I listened to it 10 times to understand what he was saying. I laughed my ass off. I’m dying laughing, and so I FaceTime him and he answers and he’s still gone. I mean, just completely gone. I’m like, Jesse, what are you doing? He’s like, (mumbled impersonation) ‘I just want jersey.’ He can’t speak whatsoever.
And then like four hours later, I get a text from Jesse. He goes, ‘I still want that jersey, man.’ Then he goes, ‘but I’m sorry for the call. They had literally just told me when I woke up from the anesthesia that you’re retiring.’
I mean, when I tell you I was dying laughing, it was the funniest [thing]. I’ll see if I can get his permission to give me the clip because it’s gold.”
The story had members of the media in stitches during Watt’s telling, bringing considerable levity to the retirement press conference. Though a recording of the interaction has not yet been shared, Luketa confirmed that the incident had indeed occurred with a post on Twitter.
True Story! 😂 https://t.co/6QdZ15HLgg
— Jesse Luketa 🇨🇦🇨🇩 (@OttawasVeryOwn) December 29, 2022
A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Luketa was drafted by the Cardinals with the 256th pick in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft following an outstanding collegiate career at Penn State. He made the team’s practice squad out of training camp but was elevated to the active roster in Week 4. Luketa has since taken snaps in five games, making one tackle.
The 23-year-old has a long way to go to catch his legendary teammate as Watt has played in 149 career games with Arizona and Houston, amassing 580 tackles, 111.5 sacks, 27 forced fumbles, two interceptions, and six total touchdowns. The seven-time All-Pro retires at 33 years old as one of the most dominant defenders in NFL history and is regarded as a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.