Until today, Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt’s hold-in has been a pretty cordial one.
While I’m not privy to what conversations have been like between Watt’s representation and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, and those could be rancorous for all I know, things on the South Side have been downright copacetic.
Despite Watt not taking part in a single team drill or preseason snap, no one from the Steelers locker room or coaching staff has said a negative word. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler went out of his way to say that he supports Watt’s choice, while also expressing the importance for him to eventually return to practice in time to get ready for the season.
That’s where the rubber meets the road today.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said that he is anticipating that Watt will practice with the team on Wednesday afternoon as it begins its first prep session for Sunday’s opener against the Buffalo Bills. And while Tomlin didn’t give a drop-dead date for when Watt needs to report in order to play, his words were pretty clear. He is expecting No. 90 to be a full participant.
Anything less than that will be a failure to live up to the coach’s expectations, and for the first time, will likely bring consequences for the contract-seeking player.
There has been general optimism from the Steelers about a deal getting done, from Art Rooney II, through Kevin Colbert and even from Tomlin on Tuesday. They’ve been involved in the conversations. For now, we’ve been able to take their optimism at its word.
If Watt doesn’t practice on Wednesday, it’s going to be a big step in the wrong direction, for both that optimism and the chances of him playing on Sunday.
Brinksmanship is a strong tactic in negotiations. For at least one side, taking this thing down to the final act has seemed like a good idea. We’ll see if that continues when the stakes go up.News and notes from around the Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football League.
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AROUND THE NFL
🏈 2020 The Steelers named Zach Banner the starting right tackle. Mike Asti
🏈 1993 Steelers practice squad safety Karl Joseph was born in Orlando, Florida.
🏈 1975 Former Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend was born in Batesville, Mississippi. Townsend was the Steelers’ fourth-round pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and played 183 games with the team over 12 seasons. He was part of the team’s Super Bowl XL and XLIII championship teams.
After his retirement, Townsend became a coach and has worked with the Arizona Cardinals, Mississippi State, Tennessee Titans, New York Giants and has been the Chicago Bears’ secondary coach since 2019.
🏈 1946 Steelers Hall of Honor defensive lineman L.C. Greenwood was born in Canton, Mississippi. Greenwood was the Steelers’ 10th-round pick out of Arkansas A&M in 1969 and went on to play 170 games over 13 seasons with the club.
Greenwood was part of the team’s four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s and was a six-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All-Pro. Greenwood was inducted into the Steelers’ inaugural Hall of Honor class in 2017. Greenwood died in 2013 at the age of 67.
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