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Steelers OLB T.J. Watt Didn’t Consider Holdout Despite Uncertain Contract Future



PITTSBURGH — All-Pro Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt is in training camp, working on getting ready for the 2021 season.

What happens after the 2021 season is still up in the air.

Watt is entering the final season of his rookie contract, the fifth-year option that the Steelers picked up two years ago. Since then, both his representation and the team knew that they had until the start of the 2021 season to work out a deal on a long-term contract extension to keep Watt from becoming a free agent, as the Steelers don’t negotiate contracts during the season.

That deadline is rapidly approaching, and there has been little news about the progress — or even acknowledgment of the existence — of the talks to keep Watt in Pittsburgh.

Watt said during the team’s spring practice period that he wasn’t going to publicly comment on the negotiations, and he reiterated that stance on Thursday.

“That’s not for me to say,” Wtt said when asked if he thought a deal would get done.

He was more elaborative on his decision to show up and attend camp in full, despite an uncertain future.

“I love this team,” he said. “I love the staff here, the players. I’m excited to be here.”

Watt will make a fully guaranteed $10.09 million this season, and there has been speculation that a new deal for the linebacker could break the $30 million per season mark.

Speculation is about all that anyone outside the process can do at the moment, as Watt and the Steelers appear content to let things play out quietly.