Watt’s fundraiser for Harvey caps out at $37.1 million
Texans’ lineman had original $200G goal
Houston Texans All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt’s online fundraiser to aid flood victims of Hurricane Harvey, which started with a goal of $200,000, closed out at more than $37 million.
Watt released the final figures, announcing his Houston Flood Relief Fund’s combined fundraising efforts raised a total of $37,132,057 and had 209,430 donors.
“There are not enough words to thank you all for your generosity,” Watt said in a statement Friday. “If there is one thing that I have taken away from these last few weeks, it is the reassurance of how much good is out there in our world. When times are the toughest, humanity stands at its strongest and you have all helped to prove that emphatically.”
Watt started the relief effort on Aug. 27 while Houston was being hit hard by the flooding with $100,000 of his own money. He had an initial goal of $200,000, meeting that target on YouCaring.com within two hours.
Watt posted videos throughout the process thanking donors and reassuring them that the money would go directly toward helping victims rather than covering administrative costs.
Watt worked with his foundation to fill 12 semitrucks with supplies to aid victims, and he and his teammates helped with the distribution in the aftermath of the hurricane.
“There are many places you could have donated your hard-earned money and I’m honored you have chosen to join this effort to support the people who were affected most by Hurricane Harvey,” Watt said in the statement posted on his website. “Please keep this spirit of helping one another alive. The world is a better place when we all take care of each other.
New kick for Hekker
Johnny Hekker is punting with a new deal, and a new spin.
The Los Angeles Rams punter, ranked first in the NFL in punting yards the last two seasons, spent the last year perfecting a technique introduced to him by Australian Nick Porebski, who punts for Hekkers’ alma mater, Oregon State.
“Nick said, ‘Check out this kick, mate,’ ” Hekker said. “And it was amazing.”
Porebski taught Hekker to hold the ball perpendicular over his foot, instead of parallel, to create a sideways spin in the air.
“It’s really effective, as far as being able to kind of show you’re going one way and then getting it to curve and go the other way,” Hekker said.
Hekker, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, tested the technique during the preseason before he booted a 38-yard punt in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts. The punt went out of bounds at the Colts’ 7-yard line – and it also went viral on Twitter.
“It was a fun one,” Hekker said, adding that he wouldn’t hesitate to attempt the kick again if the situation called for it.“Ialsoliketojustboomit,hititthe regular way.”
The Rams signed Hekker to a twoyear contract extension through the 2022 season.
“I didn’t know that we were close on getting more years added on to that deal,” Hekker said. “It was a deal where I was patient with it, I was very happy with the situation I was in, but to get the numbers bumped up is great.”
Said coach Sean McVay: “He’s a special person, he’s a special player, he’s been very productive, an all-pro player the last couple years and then what he brings to the locker room matches up with the production you see on the field.”
Teammates voted Hekker one of six team captains this season.
Last Sunday, Hekker punted five times in a 46-9 victory over the Colts. All of his punts were inside the 20-yard line. The Rams host the Washington Redskins today.
Prescott a cut above
It should be clear by now that Dak Prescott is more advanced than the majority of young quarterbacks who have come before him.
The latest example: He enters Sunday’s game with Denver with only four interceptions in his first 498 attempts. Very quickly, possibly on the first possession, Prescott will be the first player in NFL history to have five or fewer interceptions on his first 500 attempts.
“To me, it’s just numbers,” Prescott said. “The milestone doesn’t mean anything. “As I said, my main focus is taking care of the ball, keeping the ball in our team’s hands. I mean, whatever the stat is really doesn’t mean anything. You’ve just got to go out there and take care of the ball week in and week out.”
The Cowboys quarterback began his career at this time last year by throwing 176 passes before he had one picked off. He had a stretch of 171 passes without an interception later in the season.
Prescott hasn’t thrown an interception in a regular season game since Dec. 11.
“I think I prepare really hard to do that, to know what the defense is going to give me,” Prescott said. “I measure out my risk and rewards throughout practice and know the throws I can make chances on in the game to try and eliminate 50-50 interceptions and things like that.”
Again, the stat itself doesn’t mean much to Prescott. What it represents does. It’s a formula for winning.
“That’s what it means to me, that I’m playing winning football, I’m not turning it over,” Prescott said. “Having the record doesn’t mean anything.