With a new era of Steeler football, comes new leaders and voices. Many of the defensive veterans — TJ Watt and Cam Heyward — have been around for a long time and will be looked at to be the new voices. Having those two veterans in the locker room is something that the Steelers should be happy with.
After voluntary OTAs, Watt sat to talk to Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews about various topics, one of which about veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retiring. With Roethlisberger stepping away, there are leadership shoes that will need to be filled.
Watt is one of those guys that will be looked at to be one of the leaders of the Steelers. Watt has been with the Steelers for six seasons, and he has seen a thing or two about how to lead.
“I feel like it’s just kind of the natural progression as I continue to get older and more comfortable here in the building just to continue to take guys under my wing and just grow into a leadership role.” Watt said via the Steelers YouTube channel.“ But at the end of the day, I’m not trying to be somebody that I’m not being very vocal or outspoken. I’m a pretty reserved guy until you get to know me.”
Even when the cameras catch him on the sidelines he’s talking to guys about something. Watt is not scared to show his emotions. A lot of the new guys get to see that for themselves this season.
“So right now I’m just kind of evaluating the newer guys [some] might not be as talkative as they’d like me to be, but just trying to see what kind of presence they have around here. And then the leadership role comes into play.”
Watt will be one of the Steelers’ defensive leaders this season along with Cam Heyward. Watt’s leadership role has organically grown over the years, just as it did for Heyward, who sat and learned from the likes of Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel before taking over as one of the defense’s most recognizable faces. Watt, as he said, is a bit quieter and reserved but has been praised for his film study and work ethic that’s rubbed off on others.
Every locker room should have that voice. That voice of when it speaks it resonates with everyone in that locker room to perform their very best. Watt has been around a long time to see others be leaders. While not having the presence of Roethlisberger’s leadership may feel out of place, the mission to win a Lombardi will always stay the same.