As Tom Brady and J.J. Watt yearn for one more snap, ex-NFL star explains why football keeps hold on players

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Tom Brady said at the end of his Netflix roast Sunday he missed the “love of my life” — football. J.J. Watt said he was open to returning to the Houston Texans if the team needed him.

In retirement, Brady and Watt have both been busy in the business world getting their brands off the ground. Brady is also trying to buy a minority stake in the Las Vegas Raiders to add to his portfolio of No Bull, the Las Vegas Aces and Birmingham City. 

Watt and his wife, Kealia, are minority owners of Burnely Football Club and have invested in Hyperice, Athletic Brewing and more.

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JJ Watt chases down Tom Brady

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes under pressure from Houston Texans J.J. Watt during the first quarter at Reliant Stadium Dec. 1, 2013. (Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Football still seems to have a hold on the legendary players even as they shift to different worlds.

Former NFL star Shawne Merriman told Fox News Digital there were two reasons for that.

“Being in the NFL is the closest you’re going to get to two things — family and life,” he explained. “And you spend so much of your time attached to it, the detaching part is what guys struggle to just let it go. 

EX-NFL STAR SHAWNE MERRIMAN BRINGS VISION TO LIFE AS HE LAUNCHES FREE SPORTS TV CHANNEL

JJ Watt and Tom Brady in 2019

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, left, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shake hands after a game Dec. 1, 2019, at NRG Stadium in Houston. (Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Like, football does something to you as a person. You dedicate so much time, you’re around 52 guys in that locker room seven months in a year and you need everybody on that team to go out so you can win one game. When that happens, it has a hold on you that is unexplainable and why a lot of guys struggle to take that next step.”

Merriman knows what that’s like. He retired from the NFL after the 2012 season. He spent six years with the San Diego Chargers and two with the Buffalo Bills.

He was on the broadcasting side of sports after he walked away from the game, but then he launched his own mixed martial arts promotion, Lights Out Xtreme Fighting, and recently started his own TV channel, Lights Out Sports.

Shawne Merriman runs

Shawne Merriman of the San Diego Chargers during a game against the San Francisco 49ers Aug. 30, 2007, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.   (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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“I’ve had this idea for so long to create a locker room in one place, and we got it,” he said. “It’s completely free, 100% free. It’ll be on every major TV platform. And soon, you’ll be able to get it all over the world and that was my main thing.”

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