CINCINNATI — Steelers fullback Derek Watt suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the team’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game.
Tomlin did not offer any further insight into Watt’s prognosis, but considering the way things looked in the immediate aftermath of the collision between Watt and Cincinnati punt returner Alex Erickson.
Watt was coming straight down the middle of the field toward Erickson as a member of the Pittsburgh punt cover team when a little shove from a Cincinnati blocker sent him stumbling toward Erickson, head first. Watt’s head connected solidly with Erickson’s left knee, a violent collision that snapped Watt’s neck backward and left him lying motionless, flat on the back, on the field at Paul Brown Stadium.
#InjuryReport 🚨- Here is another angle of the Derek Watt injury. You can actually see the fencing response immediately after the hit, which is a relatively common flexed forearm/arm extension response to a concussion. Hoping the best for Derek! pic.twitter.com/zbThX15yDl
— The Injury Guy (@thatinjuryguy) December 22, 2020
Linebacker Ola Adeniyi, safety Jordan Dangerfield and running back Benny Snell tried to avoid any further injury as the pile was perilously close to the prostrate Watt, while linebacker Jayrone Elliott frantically called for the trainers.
But the first player off the Pittsburgh sideline was in uniform: Watt’s brother and Steelers starting linebacker T.J. Watt. T.J. Watt raced onto the field to tend to his brother and knelt alongside him as the Steelers trainers made sure Derek Watt was OK.
“Yeah, it’s a scary moment,” T.J. Watt said after the game. “I see my blood brother go down on the football field and I’m just glad that he’s okay, but there’s a lot of emotions going through my head at that point in time. A lot of adrenaline.”
Derek Watt was able to make his way off the field with some assistance and after a spell in the medical tent on the Pittsburgh sideline, he walked to the Steelers locker room under his own power.
Watching his brother’s scary ordeal didn’t have any impact on the rest of the game for T.J. Watt, who finished with a sack, four tackles, three tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit.
“I just wanted to make sure my brother was alright,” T.J. Watt said. “And then try play as best football as I possibly can.”