The dream of Pittsburgh Steelers fans that just won’t die might finally be off the table, as defensive lineman J.J. Watt said definitively that he will not be returning to the NFL after announcing his retirement at the end of the 2022 season.
Steelers fans have long sought a reunion between Watt and his younger brother, Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, in Pittsburgh, and the elder Watt has certainly heard the chatter.
“The Steelers fans are literally one the best fanbases I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life,” What said during a recent appearance on Pardon My Take. “Everywhere I go, it’s, ‘Hey I love you, but I’m huge Steelers fan, so I love your brother. Hey, come to the Steelers. Hey, we’d love you in Pittsburgh.’ It’s unbelievable.”
But despite feeling the love, Watt said he is definitely not considering a return to the NFL in general, or the Steelers specifically.
“I will not be playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Watt said, and pointed to his physical conditioning as reason No. 1 for his intransigence on the issue.
“That’s the whole reason that I can tell you right now for a fact that I’m not coming back. For me to play this season, I would have to be training right now and my body, if I went out there to play right now, it would not perform. I haven’t run since the last game of the season. So like, I could not physically do it.”
Watt did say he will be cheering the Steelers on and has plans to come to Pittsburgh to take in a game this season.
“I will be going to a game at Heinz Field to watch my brother play,” Watt said. Offered a correction by the host of the stadium’s new name, Acrisure Stadium, Watt declined. That won’t hurt his popularity in Pittsburgh at all.
As for what he’s doing with his life instead, Watt recently became a part-owner of Burnley F.C., an English soccer team. He also said he’s be interested in a move to the broadcast booth.
“I would like to at least give it a shot,” Watt said. “I want to be around the game. I love the game too much. I want to be around the game. I want to be a part of it and I do feel like I have knowledge and experience that can help enhance viewers’ experience and talk about things that they might not see or things that I’ve learned over the years.”