J.J. Watt Breaks Silence on Steelers Rumors

Getty Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass under pressure from J.J. Watt.

The most over-hyped rumor of the offseason has been put to rest — for now. The rumor of J.J. Watt potentially joining the Pittsburgh Steelers picked up steam on May 5 when Watt made an innocent comment on Twitter about head coach Mike Tomlin.

“Incredible coach & incredible man,” Watt said in response to a video Tomlin posted about siblings. “There’s a reason your players would run thru a brick wall for you. Been a pleasure hearing Derek & TJ share stories about you and your leadership. Hope to come visit sometime if you’ll have me.”

Of course, Tomlin would have him. And that’s exactly how he replied to Watt, “Would love to have you come to the facility. You are welcome anytime.”

The exchange sent Steelers Nation into a tailspin, much like the glance that then-Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shared with Tomlin in 2021.

A guest on the May 15 episode of the “Pardon My Take” podcast, Watt addressed the rumors for the first time after co-host Eric Sollenberger (a.k.a PFT Commenter) set it up nicely.

Sollenberger to Watt: ‘You Look Like a Steeler’

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“There’s a rumor out there that you are still entertaining an idea of maybe playing for the Steelers next year,” said Sollenberger. “As our good friend Jersey Jerry said he just looks like a Steeler. You have to admit, you’ve seen yourself in the mirror. You look like a Steeler.”

Watt sees that observation as a good thing. “Thank you. I appreciate that. That’s a compliment. The Steelers fans are literally one of the best fan bases I’ve ever witnessed in my life. Everywhere I go, ‘Hey, I love you but I’m a huge Steelers fan so I love your brother… Hey, come to the Steelers.’ It’s unbelievable.

“I mean if the rumors keep Burnley in the news and make it a big deal that we’re with Burnley, sure,” Watt said about his newest venture Burnley Soccer Club. “But, no, I will not be playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I will be going to a game at Heinz Field to watch my brother play.”

The hosts corrected Watt that it’s not Heinz Field anymore. “Yeah, it is. Yeah, it is. No, it’s Heinz Field,” Watt said. “They did put the ketchup bottles back in, so that’s a plus.”

While the bottles no longer adorn the jumbotron and pour out when the Steelers score, one of the Heinz ketchup bottles removed from Acrisure Stadium last year is back as of April 13, 2023. Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the bottle will be permanently displayed outside of the stadium’s Gate C.

Never Say Never to J.J. Watt Joining the Steelers

J.J. Watt said no to whether he’d be playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers this year. But later in the interview, he left the door open just a tad.

“Yeah, the Steelers… Week 17, 10 million dollars. That’s still on the table,” only to follow it up with, “I can tell you for a fact, I’m not coming back.”

Watt has no interest in staying in shape for the chance that he’d be called back to the game of football. He said earlier in the interview that he thanks God he doesn’t have to be out there participating in offseason workouts. “I would have to be training right now. My body, if I went out there to play right now it would not perform. I haven’t run since the last game of the season, so I could not physically do it.”

If the Pittsburgh Steelers defy the odds and are in the playoff hunt at the season’s end, don’t be surprised if Watt reconsiders.