One day after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that Watt should be paid “whatever the heck he wants,” Heyward ended his session with reporters on Thursday by stating his case directly:
“Pay T.J. Watt.”
Asked earlier about what his conversations have been like with Watt while the star has been out of the team’s practice rotation, Heyward said that the negotiations and Watt’s absence have not been a distraction to the team and that the Steelers’ locker room is solidly behind Watt.
“We all feel like T.J. should be paid,” Heyward said. “He put in the time, the work. His injury history, he’s been out here. He doesn’t miss much games. He’s a game-changer and my conversations to him is, he should be paid. It’s not anything to gloss over. I just think this guy has been a contributor for us for a long time. Where he got drafted, we were very lucky. We all knew he was going to be a player here and he’s answered the call and done more.”
Heyward had his own contract negotiations with the team last year, but said any hard feelings about the process were over the moment he signed, and hopes that the team and Watt will be able to do the same.