T.J. Watt Sends Fans Cryptic Message on Return to Steelers

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt shows off his signature celebration after making a tackle.

Every picture tells a story, don’t it? Is T.J. Watt trying to tell us his return is imminent with his recent Instagram story?

On October 19, Watt posted a picture of him suited up for practice — the first step to Watt’s highly-anticipated return to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Watt’s a smart dude. He knew exactly what he’d do to Steelers fans by posting one simple picture. Even if he didn’t, that’s immediately what transpired.

Moments after Watt (or his team) tapped Instagram’s share button, Steelers fans were sent into a tailspin. Mission accomplished.

“Don’t play with me,” one fan tweeted in a meme.

“Guys omg,” another fan tweeted.

“It’s happening isn’t it,” a Steelers fan tweeted in a meme.

The best reply to Steelers Depot’s tweet of T.J. Watt’s Instagram photo was from fan Jerry Steege: “Don’t come back too early T.J. But, please come back immediately.”


The photo Watt posted wasn’t a recent one, though; instead, from summer’s training camp, complete with a guardian cap.

When Will T.J. Watt Return?

When T.J. Watt will return is anybody’s guess. After a rumor of a setback was first reported by Ray Fittipaldo of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on October 7, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Watt’s return would be delayed.

“The Steelers will not rush T.J. Watt back and will be diligent in monitoring how both his knee and pectoral muscle respond,” Schefter wrote. “The team, however, no longer is counting on Watt to return before the bye week, according to sources.”

Pittsburgh’s bye is the first week in November.

A conflicting report from Tracy Wolfson during the Steelers-Buffalo Bills October 9 broadcast stated Watt’s return would not be further delayed.

“The Steelers did confirm to me that Watt had arthroscopic surgery on his knee nine days ago to clean up a prior injury,” Wolfson said. “A source close to the team told me the surgery will in no way affect his timetable for return from the pec injury. The original timetable was four to six weeks and that is how it remains.”

If Wolfson’s source is correct, Watt could return ahead of the Steelers’ critical Week 8 tilt versus the undefeated (6-0) Philadelphia Eagles. Heck, he’s a Watt — so don’t be surprised if he suits up for the prime-time October 23 showdown against the Miami Dolphins.

Steelers Won Without Watt

The Pittsburgh Steelers finally shed the narrative that they can’t win without T.J. Watt with a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 16. Pittsburgh is now 1-8 with Watt on the sideline. He’s been inactive one game his rookie season, another in 2020, two games in 2021 and the past five this season. Until this past Sunday, the Steelers had lost them all.

Pittsburgh looks to make it two wins in a row without Watt as it travels to Miami to take on the 3-3 Dolphins, a team that’s on a skid all too familiar to Pittsburgh. They’ve dropped three straight without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who’s been the subject of scrutiny after concussion controversy. Tagovailoa will start, as will Kenny Pickett who became the first quarterback to suffer a concussion since the NFL updated its protocol. All eyes will be on Pickett who was a full participant in the team’s very first practice following the hit that forced him to exit Week 6 early.

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