J.J. Watt Reacts to Potentially Joining Steelers

J.J. Watt

Getty Retired defensive lineman J.J. Watt responded to speculation that he could sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

No NFL team seems to love bloodlines like the Pittsburgh Steelers do. After Cameron Heyward’s injury in Week 1, Steelers insiders wondered whether the Steelers could lull J.J. Watt out of retirement to add the other half of the best pass-rushing brother duo in recent NFL history.

Watt, though, posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he was enjoying retirement too much to entertain the possibility of an NFL comeback. Even if playing with his brother T.J. and the Steelers were on the table.

“I appreciate the thought very much (and all the love from Pitt. I love you guys),” Watt wrote in his September 15 post. “But I spent the morning with my wife and 10 mo. old son and am now making the turn after the 9th hole with a Miller Lite in one hand and a hot dog in front of me … Kinda beats practice.”

Watt, 34, retired following the 2022 season after 12 years in the league, 10 with the Houston Texans and the final two with the Arizona Cardinals. T.J. Watt, who turns 29 in October, is in his seventh season with the Steelers.

Cameron Heyward Injury Fuels J.J. Watt-Steelers Speculation

Heyward suffered a groin injury against the San Francisco 49ers on September 10. He was scheduled to undergo surgery on September 14 and could miss as much as eight weeks.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin voiced confidence in the team’s depth along the defensive line but added that the Steelers “won’t turn a blind eye” to available options in free agency.

Even before that statement on September 12, Steelers insiders were connecting Watt to Pittsburgh because of his brother T.J.

“There’s definitely a part of me that wishes I could’ve played with them . … It would have been an absolute dream come true to play with all three of us on the same team,” J.J told Fox News’ Ryan Morin.

Watt could fix that regret by signing a contract with the Steelers, who seemingly now have an opening for him without Heyward.

“Some will laugh at this storyline,” Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette’s Joe Starkey wrote. “I don’t think it’s laughable — at least not as laughable as the notion of the Steelers trying to stop the run without Heyward.”

Watt won three Defensive Player of the Year awards during his 12-year career in 2012, 2014 and 2015. He made first-team All-Pro those seasons as well and in 2013 and 2018.

Last season with the Arizona Cardinals, Watt posted 12.5 sacks, 39 combined tackles, 25 quarterback hits and 7 pass defenses.

Watt Confirms He Wants to Stay Retired

While Watt has expressed regret multiple times over the past year that he wishes he could have played with his brothers, T.J. and Derek, his Twitter response on September 15 all but confirms that he isn’t going to change his mind about retirement.

Steelers Now’s Nick Farabaugh argued that Pittsburgh could try to persuade him with a big contract offer to return to the league. But that doesn’t seem likely either.

According to Over the Cap, the Steelers have about $6.3 million in cap space remaining for the 2023 season. Watt had an average annual salary of $14 million on his latest contract with the Cardinals.

But it might not even matter if the Steelers could hand the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year a blank check. After already making millions in the NFL, Watt seems to clearly find more value in spending time with his family.

Even if that means he never gets to play a down in the league with his brother.

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