T.J. Watt is mentoring his rookie apprentice, virtually

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In an ordinary offseason, Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt would be able to be by rookie Alex Highsmith‘s side, to teach him how the team does business.

In case you haven’t noticed, this is not an ordinary offseason.

Watt’s still offered to do everything possible to help the third-round pick, in whatever limited capacity he can.

“Once Alex was drafted, I reached out to him and we’ve talked a lot on the side,” Watt said during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I told him from the start that if you have any questions, don’t feel like you’re bothering me. You can always reach out to me whether it’s anything from drill work to an actual alignment or an assignment. . . .

“He’s going to get the same playbook that I have, and I’ve been doing it for three years now. I know this is a weird time for a lot of people who don’t have all of the equipment necessary to do all the drills. He doesn’t know every single drill we do here in Pittsburgh. I’m able to help him and send him videos. He can send me videos. I told him I’m here to help. I’m not here to [undermine] guys and say I’m better than him and not going to help him. I’m here to help him as much as I can because he’s going to help us win football games down the road.”

Watt said the challenge is greater for defensive players, whose preparation often depends on the guy across from them.

“As defensive players, we do a lot of reacting,” Watt said. “We can’t go out there and get as many guys to go to the park and practice things like running routes, pulling around the corner and blocking certain guys. We just have to react. We don’t get that luxury. It comes down to discipline and trusting that each and every guy is watching as much film as he can, and he’s staying ready so we don’t have to get ready once we get to Pittsburgh.”

Ordinarily, he’d be able to share his tips with Highsmith in the locker room or in meetings. Until they can, Watt has made himself available to the rookie in other ways, hoping to help him get up to speed.