We’ve all heard the old adage “hard work pays off” and that can be correlated to any aspect of life, be it extra time spent studying for an exam, starting a new workout regimen or even spending time in batting cages to work on your swing. In the case of Steelers star pass rusher and reigning NFL DPOY T.J. Watt, this phrase carries much more weight.
As Steelers fans, we’ve grown all too accustomed to his maniacal work ethic by now, so the mere fact that reports have began to surface of his potential return come Sunday against the undefeated Eagles should come as no surprise. Initial reports on his injured pectoral muscle suffered in Week 1 had him out past the Week 9 bye week, but per usual, Watt appears to have a better-than-average chance at beating those odds, in large part to the constant work he was putting in.
Earlier today, Watt was asked about putting in all the extra reps, even as he was healing from his injury, and whether he feels it puts him squarely in the conversation to return Sunday, and his answer should’ve came as no surprise.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m coming off whatever injury, I’m always going to try to find a way to get better and not just be a slouch and sit on the couch and eat potato chips and ice whatever body part I’m icing,” Watt said via an official team transcript.
The relentlessness in which Watt has attacked his rehab is not shocking in the least bit, as we can easily connect the dots between that and his on-field results. He’s not the biggest player or the strongest or fastest, as everyone always loves to place Browns’ defensive lineman Myles Garrett ahead of him in such categories. What sets Watt apart is his desire and his heart, and he possesses the definition of a non-stop motor in a football player. It’s how he racked up 22.5 sacks last season, tying the single-season record set by Hall of Famer Michael Strahan.
This injury is the first serious one in his pro career to date, and although he missed a few games last year, this is uncharted territory for him. So naturally, instead of resting on his laurels, he went to work in an effort to get back to the field as quickly as possible, and help provide an ailing defense with its game-changing centerpiece. He’s without a doubt the straw that stirs the drink on that side of the ball, and one need look no further than the team’s sack production with him out of the lineup. They’ll need his efforts if he is to play Sunday, as the defense is going up against arguably the top offensive line in all of football.
“I’m always trying to find a way so that when I come back, the acclimation period is as quick as possible. We won’t know until I actually play.”