Celebrity Parents J.J. Watt Says Fatherhood Changed Him in 'Many Ways': 'It's a Love I Never Knew I Could Have' "Your perspective changes, your priorities change, and your marriage changes," the retired NFL star tells PEOPLE By Brenton Blanchet Brenton Blanchet Instagram Twitter Writer/Reporter, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines and Lanae Brody Lanae Brody Instagram Senior Reporter Emerging Content, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 12, 2023 05:38 PM Share Tweet Pin Email J.J. Watt kisses his son Koa during an Arizona Cardinals game. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty J.J. Watt is a changed man. The former Arizona Cardinals defensive end caught up with PEOPLE at the 12th Annual Big Game Big Give Event on Saturday in Paradise Valley, Ariz., where he revealed that fatherhood has already made a major impact on his life. "It's changed me in so many ways," Watt, 33, says of being a dad. "I've said before, it's a love that I never knew I could have, and it just makes you see the world in a different light. Your perspective changes, your priorities change, and your marriage changes. I look at my wife in an even more beautiful light now, watching her be a mother to our beautiful son." J.J. Watt looks at his son Koa during an Arizona Cardinals game. Ezra Shaw/Getty T.J. Watt Wants to See Tom Brady and Brother J.J. Get Inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame Together Watt, who welcomed his first son Koa James in November with wife Kealia Watt, also told PEOPLE that with some newfound free time, he's "going to be looking after my own son, so it's going to be very exciting." The former NFL star announced his retirement from the league in late December, just a month after his son was born. "Koa's first ever NFL game," he wrote in a tweet, which included two pictures with his family at State Farm Stadium. "My last ever NFL home game. My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It's been an absolute honor and a pleasure." Watt spent 12 seasons in the NFL after being selected in the 2011 draft by the Houston Texans and later signed with Arizona in 2021. Per ESPN, he is one of three NFL players to earn the Defensive Player of the Year title three times — alongside Aaron Donald and Lawrence Taylor. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. While there were many factors in Watt's decision to retire from the NFL, "a huge part" was his desire to be home with Koa, Kealia later revealed. "I think that there were obviously many things that went into his decision," Kealia, 31, told PEOPLE this month. "I know he wanted to be with Koa. The way it worked out, it was just the perfect time and it couldn't have been better for us and Koa." J.J. Watt Jokes He 'Was Unaware' NFL Had Retirement Paperwork After Tom Brady's Official Exit At Saturday's event ahead of the Super Bowl, Watt elaborated on the feeling of being retired hitting him "a little bit." "I think once next season rolls around, and I'm not getting ready and geared up for the season, I'm sure there'll be some emotional moments, but I'm certainly very happy and excited right now," he says. For now, though, Watt says he feels "very relaxed, for the first time, in a very long time." "I've put so much time, energy, and passion into training and preparing for each season," Watt tells PEOPLE. "So, this is the first time where I've kind of had that weight lifted off my shoulders. And, if I want to work out, I work out. If I want to eat a cheeseburger, I eat a cheeseburger. I don't have to lock my diet in exactly and everything. It's great."