Derek Watt wasn’t the first in the family to knew the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to try and sign him. That news went to younger brother TJ, who kept the news a secret for just a little bit. Derek explained what happened in an interview with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews.
“TJ got a call the day before I found out I was going to be a Steeler,” Derek told Matthews in a recent Skype call on the team website. “They got his blessing. Coach Tomlin called him and confirmed it’d be something he would be ok with. Obviously he was and here we are today.”
As you’d expect, TJ was ecstatic to get the chance to have another Watt on the squad.
“It’s special,” TJ said. “None of it has hit us yet with all the external things going on with the virus. We spent a lot of time together in the offseason working out. We just finished our workout this morning. I think it’ll really hit us once we get it Pittsburgh together and start hitting the workouts together. We [played together] in high school, we did it in college, and now we’re doing it in the NFL. It’s a really unique experience for us both.”
Derek said his agents were coy with Pittsburgh’s interest, not letting him get his hopes up about uniting with his brother, until the offer was firm and final. He signed a three year deal worth just under $10 million that became official last week.
The Watts are the second pair of brothers on the roster, joining Terrell and Trey Edmunds. Pittsburgh is no stranger to loving football bloodlines. The roster is littered with those guys. Cam Heyward, Devin Bush, Benny Snell, Robert Spillane, Maurkice Pouncey, all have siblings or parents who played in the NFL.
Given the team’s draft history, they tend to value those bloodlines, as evidence by the list of names I just rattled off (all but Spillane was drafted by the team) so don’t be surprised if that group grows by one or two names a month from now. Players like Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr., USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., and Michigan offensive linemen Jon Runyan Jr. all would fit that bill.