Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt has been through the ringer this season.
After winning the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award last season after putting together a historic performance in 2021, Watt has faced his fair share of adversity in 2022. He suffered a pec injury Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals that forced him to go on IR and not come back until after the team’s bye week. During his IR stint, Watt also underwent a knee scope to clean up a nagging knee injury and is currently dealing with an abdomen injury after taking a nasty shot in the ribs from RB Jonathan Taylor against the Colts on Monday Night Football.
While Watt is currently questionable for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens with a rib injury, Watt is done missing time for a team that has clawed its way back into the playoff hunt.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” Watt said to the media Friday on video from the team’s website. “It’s tough… out of my control. Just kind of been one thing after another of this year, but I don’t want to miss any more games so I’m going to try my best to make it happen each and every week.”
Since Watt has returned to the lineup, the Steelers are 3-1 in their last four games. While Watt hasn’t made the same impact in the sack department as he has in recent seasons, he is still finding ways to impact the game as a run defender as well in coverage, batting balls down at the LOS and even snagging a couple for INTs.
The Steelers and Watt could have opted to undergo surgery on his pec and miss the entire 2022 season once he suffered the injury Week 1. However, Watt wanted to come back and contribute to the team’s efforts despite being 2-6 at the bye, rehabbing his way to get back on the football field and provide the defense a much-needed spark on the edge.
While Watt may be hampered with several injuries at the moment, it’s not in his nature to “take it easy” and miss games if he is good enough to go. It speaks to his toughness and football character to go to battle with his teammates while being nowhere near 100% as he once again shows his value to the Steelers as the emotional leader of the team both on-and-off the field.