It turns out that the possibility of J.J. Watt playing with his younger brother T.J. in Pittsburgh wasn’t far-fetched after all. J.J. Watt revealed on the Pat McAfee Show earlier this week that he was monitoring the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans injury situation in 2023 and considering a return from retirement. T.J. then confirmed during an interview with Fox News Digital that it was a real possibility if the Steelers were in position to make a Super Bowl run.
“I was trying to win as much as possible. I knew that was going to be a big factor,” T.J. Watt said. “At the end of the day, all those business decisions are separate from that. He was staying ready just in case, and, obviously, it didn’t come to fruition.”
Even though the Steelers finished strong, their three-game losing streak in early December pretty much signaled that they wouldn’t be competing for a Lombardi Trophy.
“It was something where if I could bring something that would help propel somebody to a potential Super Bowl situation, where you’d fill in a need and it’s something that could take them to a new level, absolutely,” J.J. Watt told McAfee. “But just to do it would have been ridiculous.”
Watt said he missed the game the most when he came to Pittsburgh for the Steelers’ Week 9 game against the Tennessee Titans, and watched from a suite.
“When I went to Pittsburgh and visited T.J. and watched him get ready for the game, that was hands down the moment, where I was like, ‘This is the first time I definitely miss playing,’” J.J. Watt said. “It was halfway through the year. … I felt all those emotions before the game, and then the next morning, he woke up all sore, bruised up, has to go get treatment and everything. I popped up, went for a nice walk and had a coffee. It was great. I don’t have any of those things.”
The Steelers went on a three-game losing streak shortly after his visit, which prevented him from picking up the phone and trying to play for Mike Tomlin.
“After that, I think they rattled off three losses in a row,” J.J. Watt said. “If they had rattled off three wins in a row, all of a sudden, the conversation is just a little bit different.”
While J.J. never got the opportunity to hoist a Lombardi, he’s still a sure-fire Hall of Famer and one of the greatest defensive players to ever play the game. He earned $129 million in total NFL salary and has a nice gig with The NFL Today show on CBS, so life’s not that bad.
“I think, in hindsight, he’s happy he didn’t have to come back and deal with all the soreness and things,” T.J. Watt said. “He’s not living a bad life at all.”