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Steelers LB Wins Unique NFL Award in Week 3



Steelers LB Cole Holcomb
Steelers LB Cole Holcomb at practice on Sept. 27, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb has won the NFL’s Way to Play Award in Week 3, the Steelers announced on Thursday. The award aims to recognize players who make impactful tackles, plays, and hits with proper, safe technique. Holcomb earned that award for his third-quarter hit on Raiders receiver Davante Adams, who came over the middle of the field.

Instead of leading with his head to make a helmet-to-helmet hit, Holcomb led with his shoulder with his head away from his body, delivering a blow straight into the numbers of Adams. While still a brutal hit, it is not illegal and fits with the NFL’s rules to hit below the head and neck. Adams did not suffer an injury in the play.

The award was announced by former NFL cornerback Jason McCourty, who loved the hit and how clean it was for the game in the modern rulebook.

“This is an absolutely perfect play,” McCourty said. “This is how you go out there and make a big hit, impact the game, and keep everybody safe.”

As a result of the play, Holcomb wins a $ 5,000 equipment grant that can be awarded to a program at the high school or youth level of his choice. It highlights the safety that players can make when making big hits on opposing players. However, Holcomb is not the only linebacker to earn an award after Week 3.

Star outside linebacker T.J. Watt was named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month for September.

In September, Watt tallied 11 tackles (nine solo), six sacks, 12 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, two passes defended, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries, with one going for a touchdown. Additionally, in September, Watt became the Steelers’ all-time sack leader after he surpassed James Harrison’s 80.5 career sacks. Alex Highsmith won the Defensive Player of the Week Award following Week 2’s performance against the Browns, too.