T.J. Watt is back.
The Steelers pass rusher ended his hold-in Wednesday by fully participating in practice for the first time this season. That included the team period, which he previously has skipped.
So does that mean Watt will play Sunday absent a contract extension?
“Like I said yesterday, I’m proceeding with that assumption,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.
Watt is scheduled to speak to the media Friday.
Watt is in the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, scheduled to earn $10.09 million. The Steelers’ team policy is not to negotiate contract extensions once the regular season begins, so the sides are running out of time.
“T.J. is a professional,” Steelers linebacker Joe Schobert said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I train with him in the offseason. He takes his job extremely seriously. If you put him in a parking lot, he’s going to be ready to play a football game.”
Watt, 26, made the All-Pro team each of the past two seasons and was third in defensive player of the year voting in 2019 and second last season. He has 29.5 sacks the past two seasons, including an NFL-best 15 in 2020, with 77 quarterback hits, 15 pass breakups, 10 forced fumbles and 23 tackles for loss.