Steelers’ T.J. Watt’s Potential Return Date Revealed: Report

T.J. Watt

Getty Steelers OLB T.J. Watt may not be out for the entire season after all.

The Pittsburgh Steelers might have finally received some good news after all.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt’s season may not be over. Schefter reports that Watt will get second and third medical opinions about his torn pec on Tuesday. If surgery is required, his season is over. If surgery is not required, he could be back in six weeks, which would mean his return would be in late October.

“The reigning Defensive Player of the Year will get second and third medical opinions about his torn pec Tuesday, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter,” says Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “If doctors determine that Watt needs surgery, his season likely would be over; if he doesn’t need surgery, he could possibly return in six weeks, sources told Schefter.”

Watt’s Impact on the Steelers’ Defense

Towards the end of regulation of the Steelers’ 23-30 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, Watt tackled Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. He came off the field and told trainers that he “tore” his pec.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year had a tremendous impact in the season opener, posting six tackles, one sack and an interception. Watt is coming off of a 2021 season in which he tied the sack record at 22.5 sacks.

“I don’t know what all the details are,” defensive lineman Cam Heyward said of Watt’s injury. “We’ll rally around him, make sure guys step up in the meantime, and whenever he gets back to us, he’ll just be ready. Certainly disheartening, but that’s part of the game of football.”

If the six-week timetable is accurate, the earliest Watt could return is in Week 7 for a Sunday night matchup versus the Miami Dolphins. He could also return in Week 8 versus the Philadelphia Eagles, or wait until after the bye when the Steelers come back home to host the New Orleans Saints.

“He always has a good attitude about things, and that’s what makes him a good leader as well,” outside linebacker Alex Highsmith said. “Even in bad times, he’s always trying to make everyone better around him. I think by him having that, he’s letting people know that, it’s going to be all right.”

Steelers’ Defense Impresses in Season Debut

After a rough season in which Pittsburgh’s defense ranked 22nd in points allowed, the Steelers came out with a vengeance in the season opener. Not only did they force five turnovers from Burrow — four alone in the first 25 minutes of the game — they pressured him throughout the game, resulting in seven sacks.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Steelers 79.1 defensive grade in Week 1 was the second-highest of any team across the league.

While losing Watt will certainly impact how dynamic Pittsburgh’s defense will be in the coming weeks, it’s a good sign that the Steelers’ defense is back after a down season.

“I said they need to be what we need them to be,” head coach Mike Tomlin said following the game. “And so, we needed five (takeaways) today. That’s what great defenses do. You guys asked me to define great defenses. It’s a loose definition. They smile in the face of adversity, and they deliver necessary plays. That’s why I answered it a couple of days ago the way I did, and today is an example of that.”

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