It tends to be the case that the more time somebody spends in the league, the more they’re prepared to open up. We’ve seen that with guys like David DeCastro, and T.J. Watt is becoming another such player through his first three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But one thing you might hesitate to ask him about is the Defensive Player of the Year Award and whether or not he is in the running for it. He’ll talk all day about the fact that his teammates voted him the Steelers’ MVP for the 2019 season, but he’s much more reluctant to discuss the other. Missi Matthews didn’t give him that option.
“I don’t know if I’m even in the conversation, because there’s no set finalists and everything”, he said when Matthews asked him about if it meant anything to him to be discussed as one of the players most likely to win the award this year.
“It’s nice, but like I said, no matter what happens, I’m never satisfied. I’ve been to that award show many times for my brother, I’ve seen him win it three times, so I always leave motivated more than ever”, he added, of course referring to J.J. Watt.
“It would be awesome to win that award, and it’s a team award—it always is. There’s a lot of plays that I left out there this year, and I’m sure that a lot of guys can say that. I can promise you I’m more hungry now than I ever have been. I’m very motivated for 2020”.
Watt had a career year in 2019, posting 55 tackles, 14.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, two interceptions, four fumble recoveries, 14 tackles for loss, 36 quarterback hits, and seven passes defensed. Pretty much the only thing that he didn’t do was record a touchdown, but one can’t help but think that is coming in the near future.
The Steelers have had six different players win the Defensive Player of the Year Award in their history, with Joe Greene winning it twice. Fellow winners are Mel Blount, Jack Lambert, Rod Woodson, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu. No other organization has more than four, including the New York Giants, with three-time winner Lawrence Taylor, the only player to win it as a rookie.
Polamalu was the most recent winner, recording seven interceptions in 2010, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He also had 63 tackles, including six for a loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a sack, and 11 total passes defensed.
Harrison won the award in 2008. That season, he recorded a franchise-record 16 sacks with seven forced fumbles and a safety, but he also had 101 tackles, with an astonishing 16 for lost yardage. He also had a fumble recovery and an interception, with three passes defensed.