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James Harrison Says Highsmith, Watt Duo Better than Woodley, Harrison



Steelers Alex Highsmith T.J. Watt
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebackers Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 18, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers outside linebacker duo of Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt remains one of the best duos in the NFL, if not the best duo. However, where does it stand on the pedestal of the Steelers’ edge rusher duos in the team’s history? Pittsburgh won a Super Bowl with the fearsome duo of James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, but Harrison believes that Highsmith and Watt might be the better duo.

Joining Cam Heyward on the Not Just Football PodcastHarrison compared the two duos. He believes that Watt’s elite play for years, along with Highsmith’s ascension, has perhaps made them the better duo.

“To me, it’s very close, if not better,” Harrison said. “I’ll just be honest with you, especially if they can continue to put together the seasons that they have been putting together. Especially with T.J. putting together the numbers that he has put together the last couple of years.”

Watt broke Harrison’s franchise sack record earlier this season. Now, Watt is on a blistering sack pace, having already put up eight sacks through five games. Highsmith does not have the raw sack numbers but is tied for the league lead with 30 pressures. Both players continue to prove that they are top-flight edge rushers worthy of the contracts that Pittsburgh gave them over the last few offseasons. James Harrison has shown an appreciation for Watt, including when he broke the record. They played together during Watt’s rookie season, and that mentorship helped Watt tremendously.

“Deebo himself helped me so much my rookie year,” Watt said. “He didn’t have to. No one asked him to, but he wanted to help me, and I appreciate him for that. So many teammates, coaches, mentors, my brothers, my wife’s support, my parents — There are so many people that go into it that it’s not myself out there making the plays. I mean, I can’t take all the credit.”

Highsmith and Watt are the backbone of the Steelers team. In the three wins they have, those two are critical catalysts for victory. It’s likely to continue that way with the questions in the Steelers secondary and the offense continuing to struggle throughout the early portions of the season.