The NFL world has been waiting for an official update on T.J. Watt since the final moments of the September 11 regulation. It was expected to come via Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference on September 13.
Unfortunately, it never really came.
In typical Tomlin fashion, he kept things close to the vest, and his comments on Watt did not really provide the clarity we’d hoped for. Though there’s optimism it wasn’t a full tear, we will likely not know for sure until the end of the week. Tomlin’s been around the block and knows how to work the media to reveal as little as possible.
“Even though there might be speculation out there, I can definitively say that T.J. [Watt] won’t play this week, but I won’t make any commitments beyond that,” Tomlin told Steelers media.
It’s no surprise that Watt will not play versus the New England Patriots in Week 2. Tomlin is in no hurry to make any definitive statements regarding the extent of the injury or Watt’s timeline for return.
“We’re not in a hurry to gather information too quickly,” he said. “We’ll see how his body responds, we’ll get second and third opinions, and at the end of the week or at some point, we’ll do what’s appropriate.”
Tomlin explained that decisions regarding injured reserve don’t have to be made until the week’s end.
“We’re encouraged, and we’ll just continue to look at the situation and gain opinions,” said Tomlin.
A reporter followed up to clarify if being “encouraged” means the Steelers don’t believe Watt’s injury is season-ending, Tomlin replied: “That does suggest that, yes.”
T.J. Watt Tweets Status
A couple of hours post-Mike Tomlin press conference, the player in question took to Twitter to update concerned Steelers fans.
Watt is known as a jokester, and his tweet is no different. It’s always good to be light-hearted in these kinds of moments.
Update From Ian Rapoport
Whether accurate or not, the updates we have from NFL media are all we have to go by — which is more than Tomlin will reveal. The most recent update comes on September 13 from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: Watt’s tendon was not torn, which means six weeks of rehab and no surgery.
If Watt returns exactly after six weeks, presuming rehab has already started, it would be Sunday, October 23, Week 7, at Miami. It would be foolhardy to bring Watt back before Week 9’s bye week. Why risk injury when the Steelers will need him even more down the stretch?
Pittsburgh takes on the Saints Sunday, November 13.
Steelers Seek Linebacker Help
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Steelers worked out former Washington Commanders outside linebacker, Ryan Anderson.
Mike Tomlin explained that it would only be for help in practice. He wouldn’t say whether it’ll lead to participation.
Malik Reed, signed by the Steelers on August 30, is next on the depth chart. It’s expected he’ll fill in during T.J. Watt’s absence, along with newly-signed Jamir Jones. But there’s no replacing Watt. It’ll undoubtedly take an Army even to come close to replacing his game-changing domination.