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Steelers All-Pro T.J. Watt Admits That He Feels Old for First Time



Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

The 30-year-old age mark is usually when players realize that they have fewer years ahead of them, depending on the position. Steelers All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt turns 30 in October, and he admitted to Teresa Varley of that he feels old for the first time in his career.

Watt is heading into his eighth season and is the third-longest tenured player on the team, behind just Chris Boswell and Cam Heyward. Watt has shown no signs of slowing down, however, even though he feels “old.”

Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt runs out of the tunnel for a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec 23, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Watt’s statistical dominance in 2023 went beyond his league-best 19 sacks, as he also recorded 36 quarterback hits, 19 tackles for loss, eight passes defended, four forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, one interception and one defensive touchdown, a game-sealing fumble return against the Browns.

Despite putting up better numbers in almost every major statistical category, the Associated Press named Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett NFL Defensive Player of the Year over Watt.

Garrett was better than Watt in advanced pass-rush metics peddled by Pro Football Focus and others. PFF graded Garrett as the best edge rusher in the league at 93.6. Watt was fifth at 91.9, behind Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby.

Watt wasn’t happy with the DPOY snub, but at this point of his career, he cares more about playoff success and winning a Super Bowl. Watt has never won a playoff game in his seven-year career with the Steelers. He’s 0-3 in playoff games with the Steelers and the team is 0-4 overall since 2017. Watt was out with a knee injury in the wild-card playoff loss to Buffalo this past January.

Watt doesn’t want be known for just his long list of individual accomplishments. He wants to add a Super Bowl ring to his legacy.

“Obviously, didn’t go the way we wanted in the end,” Watt said about the 2023 season in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio at the 101 Awards in March. “This is my seventh year, this past season, and to not win a playoff game is embarrassing and not how we do things in Pittsburgh.”

“I don’t want my legacy to say that ‘T.J. Watt (accomplished) all these individual things but what happened in the big moments?’” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to get better (at), and I’m willing to do everything I possibly can and hopefully everybody in the locker room is on the same page.”