‘Wait, that looks like J.J. Watt': Arizona Cardinals DE seen sprinting through streets of London

Emily Olsen
USA TODAY Sports+

It's a small world after all, especially for a few lucky NFL fans in England. 

Grant Ho, a University of Michigan junior studying information science, was shocked when he saw Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt sprint past him on the streets of London … twice. 

He didn't even believe it was Watt at first. 

Ho, who is studying a semester abroad, and his friend walked around London at 10 p.m. Friday. They were passing Palace Theater in London's West End — where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child shows — when a large man darted by them.

"My friend said to me, 'That guy just probably pickpocketed someone,'" Ho told USA TODAY Sports+. "A moment passed and then I saw the same man … and I was like, 'Wait, that looks like J.J. Watt.'"

Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) tries to get past Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Rob Havenstein (79).

Upon further review, and a quick check of Watt's Instagram page, Ho realized he hadn't just witnessed a petty crime, rather a five-time All-Pro trying to retrieve his phone left behind in an Uber.

Ho, a Denver Broncos fan, continued back to his dorm room and made a "Hail Mary" attempt to get Watt's attention by sharing the encounter on Twitter.

"Maybe 10 minutes later he responded and I was speechless," Ho said. "I still can’t believe he responded to me!"

Touchdown. 

"I left my phone in the Uber and wasn’t about to be stranded in England. If there was a clock on that, it may have been sub 4.4," Watt responded to Ho on Twitter. "I cannot believe you witnessed that."

Asked about Watt's form, Ho said, "He definitely didn't look like he had an injury. If I were Matthew Stafford or Jimmy G, I'd be scared." 

American sports media personality Kenny Mayne also chimed in on the defensive end's form.

"We are here and will claim to have witnessed this. Congratulations on the 4.25," Mayne tweeted. "That’s Morton family speed."

Uber's support team even checked in to make sure the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year got his phone back.

"Hey JJ! We’re glad you got another workout in," Uber tweeted. "But we want to make sure you got your phone? Let us know?"

Watt responded with a gif of Snoop Dogg which said, "All gravy baby."

Watt is not the first American sports star Ho has had a chance encounter with, but he is "definitely one of the most famous," Ho said. He's also met Peyton Manning while coaching the former quarterback's daughter at soccer camp, Michigan men's basketball coach Juwan Howard a couple of times and former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.

Watt the football fan

Though their lives only intersected for a fraction of a moment, Watt and Ho share at least on thing in common — their love for English Premier League club Chelsea FC. It's why Ho chose London to study abroad. He's going to attend the FA Cup semifinal game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on Sunday.

And while it's unknown whether Watt will make it to Wembley for the match, he spent some time with United States men's national team and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen while in London. 

The two met prior to City's semifinal loss Saturday to Liverpool and shared the moment on social media. 

Watt isn't bashful about his interest in the beautiful game and his support for Chelsea, but his connection to soccer goes even further. He's married to American soccer forward Kealia Watt, who plays for the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women's Soccer League.

Watt on socks

The Cardinals defensive end has been bumping into multiple fans across London, starting with a serendipitous moment shortly after his arrival across the pond.

Watt took a walk around the city and ran into someone with an interesting choice in apparel. When the woman saw Watt she said, "no way," before proceeding to roll up her pant leg revealing a pair of socks with the player's face on them, according to Watt's description of the interaction on Twitter.

DAILY SPORTS SMILE:J.J. Watt reacts to custom fan socks during London trip

It's hard to say who is having a better time in the UK, Watt or the fans who've had the fortune of stumbling into his tour across London Town.