Derek Watt is the brother with the secret weapon. Because of his son, it seems as though he avoids the brunt of the blows exchanged between the Watt siblings over social media, with J.J. and T.J. regularly sharing playful barbs. But both want to be the favorite uncle, so Derek gets spared.
But with Derek now in Pittsburgh alongside T.J., who knows? Perhaps J.J. says forget it and adopts a scorched Earth policy, resigned to the reality that he can’t compete for the title when his opponent has the home field advantage. Could that have been T.J.’s plan all along?
Of course not, but he also made it clear that he’s been trying to get Derek to Pittsburgh for a while. Even though, as he told the team website, the Pittsburgh Steelers gave him the heads up and asked if he was okay with his brother being on the team before they pursued him in free agency, there was never any doubt of the answer.
“I would tell the coaches during the season that he is playing well. I would remind them his contract is running out and he is playing better each week, especially special teams wise”, he said. You don’t drop hints like that if you’re going to have some type of problem with your brother being on the same team as you.
After Derek signed with the Steelers, he said he knew that they were among the teams who were showing interest in him, but he said that he felt T.J. knew more than he was telling him. It turns out, he did, because they made it clear to him that they wanted to bring his brother in.
“I was with Derek when Coach first called me” about their plans to target him in free agency, he said. “I told him, I don’t know what that call meant, but it sounds like they are going to pursue you pretty hard in the next day or week. I didn’t know what the timeline was”.
As it would turn out, the Steelers got an agreement in place with him very quickly, before the start of the new league year had even arrived. He said Derek “didn’t want to get too excited” because there were other teams involved and Pittsburgh still had a fullback, but they released Roosevelt Nix soon after agreeing to a deal with Watt.
The new Watt figures to be a 300-plus-snap player on special teams for the Steelers this year. How extensively he is used as a fullback on offense remains to be seen, but he has never played 200 offensive snaps in a season before. Nor has any Steelers fullback since the Dan Kreider days.