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T.J. Watt: J.J.’s Shadow Will ‘Always Be With Me’, But Wants To Learn From It

Philadelphia might be the city of brotherly love, but Pittsburgh is the city of brotherly football. Not only do they themselves have two pairs of siblings on their own roster, they also have six players in total (including the teammate siblings) who have brothers in the league.

Most recent is Carlos Davis, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ seventh-round pick, whose twin brother was drafted a round earlier. The first was, of course, Maurkice Pouncey, whose identical twin brother Mike Pouncey was also a first-round Pro Bowl center.

Then there was T.J. Watt and Terrell Edmunds in back-to-back drafts, giving them three siblings drafted in the first round whose brother was also a first-round pick, the latter having Tremaine Edmunds taken in the same class (oldest brother Trey is on the roster as a running back.

Meanwhile, T.J.’s oldest brother is jealous of his younger siblings, now that they are both on the same team, after the Steelers signed Derek Watt. But J.J. Watt remains, by far, the most accomplished of all, as a three-time Defensive Player of the year, and a man that pretty much everybody in the league looks up to.

In spite of the fact that he had a fantastic season himself in 2019 and made a run for his own Defensive Player of the Year honor, T.J. acknowledges that at least in the perception of many, he still walks in his oldest brother’s shadow, and always will. But he doesn’t mind.

“To a lot of people, there’s still a shadow. I think it’ll always be with me, but that’s not for me to control, and I think the best thing that I can do is just learn from every one of his experiences, use him not only as a big brother but as a mentor to bounce questions off of and try to take my game to the next level”, he said while appearing on Marty Smith’s America podcast.

But T.J. doesn’t just take inspiration from what his older brother has been able to accomplish on the field. As much as anything, he wants to live by J.J.’s example as a community leader, and has only recently come to understand just how difficult that is.

“Growing up, I didn’t really understand everything that went into his foundation. When he first started, I helped out on the board. I helped send out the wristbands”, he said. “I didn’t realize how special a moment that was until, now I’m trying to figure out what I want to do to impact communities, to start a foundation”.

“But there is so much work that goes into just even starting a foundation, let alone raising the amount of money that he’s been able to do and impacting so many lives”, Watt went on. “You really just have to sit back and admire the person that he is, and to stack on the football-playing ability as a once-in-a-generation-type player”.

J.J. got a six-year head-start on his youngest brother, but T.J. is doing a great job of following in his footsteps. He will only be turning 26 in October during his fourth NFL season. He has plenty of time yet to make his mark, both on the game and in society.

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