PITTSBURGH — Star defensive end Nick Bosa will play for the San Francisco 49ers against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, and he says he feels comfortable with playing a full workload despite getting in just two practices after signing his contract extension earlier this week.
Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt has been in his shoes, making nearly the same decision back in 2021.
And Watt thinks he can do it.
“I don’t really know if there’s much lag,” Watt said after practice on Friday. “If anything, it’s fresh legs. It’s a lot of want-to and desire. I mean, this guy hasn’t been able to play football in a long time. So you just want to come back.”
Watt did say that if there’s a potential pitfall to not participating in training camp, it’s the risk of injury, not a lack of effectiveness.
“It’s just more of, down the road, soft tissue things,” he said. “You need to get back into football shape. As far as Week 1, you can expect a guy like that to be playing his butt off.”
NO NERVES FOR THIS ROOKIE
It’s the day before the first day of school for the Steelers rookies, but Joey Porter Jr. isn’t nervous about his first NFL game on Sunday.
“I’m very excited for this moment,” he said. “It’s the first of many. I just can’t wait to get outside with my boys and start playing football.”
While the first day of school analogy might fit, Porter said he doesn’t feel like he’s had to cram for a big test in preparation this week.
“I don’t feel like it’s cramming, because I feel like I took steps to be prepared for this moment. I didn’t have to rush anything,” he said. “I’m just ready, really.”
CAN’T ROCK BROCK
Brock Purdy has just five starts under his belt in the NFL, but from their study of him, the Steelers don’t see him as an inexperienced competitor who can be easily rattled.
“He has a lot of moxie,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “There’s not a lot of things that get him rattled. He doesn’t panic in situations. He knows what to do with the ball. He knows when he has a good play. He knows when he doesn’t have a good play. Sometimes that’s the biggest thing. He gets rid of the ball if he has to.”
Watt also expressed some admiration for Purdy’s willingness and ability to play through injury, something Watt did a year ago. Purdy will be re-taking the field just over seven months after his UCL injury in January.
“It’s a credit to him how quickly that he’s come back from his injury,” Watt said. “Just showing the want-to factor and the ability to not be rattled or nervous to get back in the pocket after suffering the injury that he did. I’m excited to step into the stadium with somebody that wants to win that badly.”
NOT WATCHING THE LEADERBOARD
Cam Heyward enters the season two sacks behind James Harrison, who is the Steelers’ all-time official leader with 80.5 sacks. Watt is one sack behind Heyward.
Watt insisted on Friday that he’s not worried about the record.
“I wanna win, man. I wanna win.”