T.J. Watt on the pressure of living up to his megadeal: I’m built for this

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Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt held-in during training camp. He practiced with his teammates for the first time this season on Wednesday, a day before he signed a four-year extension.

Watt may or may not have sat out Sunday’s game without a new deal.

“I’m glad we didn’t get to that point,” Watt said Friday, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.

Watt not only became the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player with $112 million and a $35 million signing bonus, but he forced the Steelers to change how they do business. Pittsburgh fully guaranteed the first three years of Watt’s deal, a first for the franchise.

So how does Watt live up to the pressures of the record-setting contract?

“Man, I’ve been dealing with pressure my whole life. I’m built for this,” Watt said. “And I truly believe that nothing monetary will change me as a person. The work that I put in will not change. It will only grow.

“It’s my job to prove all these people that have put this amount of money to me and stood on the table to say they want me here, to prove them right. I know I can do it. I know exactly what it takes. I’ve been doing it my whole life. It’s just about continuing to do it and staying hungry. And I guarantee everybody here right now and everybody in this building, I am still hungry.”

Watt, 26, received support from his teammates, including Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Heyward, while missing practice to make a statement. He appreciated their public calls for management to pay Watt his worth.

“When you go through something like this, and you’re trying to stand up for what you believe in and you’re doing it by yourself, having reassurance from the people that you care about their opinion the most means a lot,” Watt said. “There are definitely some moments through this whole process where you do feel like you’re almost by yourself, and that’s why it’s so important that those guys said those nice things.”

Watt 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.

26 responses to “T.J. Watt on the pressure of living up to his megadeal: I’m built for this

  1. Who else wishes raises at their job went like TJ’s? You know… show up to work and just stand there, lift weights while your co workers work hard. Then have them get your back because you refuse to work until you get a raise.
    If most Americans did that at work they would be fired. And their coworkers would be fired because they spoke their mind. America sucks

  2. The dude is a monster. Hopefully with his family tree he’ll keep up the hard work. The worst thing is seeing these high dollar guys fall off the face of a cliff the year after a big extension. If he wants to be respected by his teammates and coaching staff he needs to keep grinding like his brother.

  3. As much as I despise the Steelers (sorry Raiders fan since Kenny Stabler days) I’m really happy to see this kid get his pay day. I have no doubt he will be all he has been and even more in the years to come. Grats to the Steeler fan base, you guys got a great one. First it was JJ, then Aaron Donald and now the torch for greatest D-lineman gets passed to TJ.

  4. “…now the torch for greatest D-lineman gets passed to TJ.”

    Hey, Nick Bosa is on line 1 for you buddy.

  5. Good for TJ. Surpassed what I thought he would ever be and has put Wisconsin on the map as possibly the best brothers to play in the league. I know the Mannings would get the most votes because of their position but the Watt bros are just as impressive.

  6. TJ Watt’s next big play in the post season or in a game of consequence will be his first big play in the post season or in a game of consequence.

  7. Usually dudes that hold out or in as they call it, don’t practice or train with the team, pull a hammy game one and struggle the rest of the year. Maybe he’ll buck the trend and be fine and get 20 sacks.

  8. I’ma huge fan of the dude. Loved him coming out of college, think would have been a fine fit for my eagles playing on the line as well like his brother. But he definitely went to a perfect fit scheme wise and philosophically. Just the next great olb pass rusher to play for Pittsburgh. I’m not a big fan of paying monster salaries for defensive players in league designed for the offenses, but this is one of the few guys who is probably worth it. Especially considering they will probably have relatively cheap qb cap numbers the next 4 or 5 years.

  9. I think every big money deal other great players sign is bad because I have nothing left.

    15 9 Rate This

    What does that even mean? Late night drinking….again?

    TJ will earn every penny and more.

  10. The same people who get on here and complain about athletes making too much money, are the same people who vote for the politicians who give enormous tax breaks to hugely profitable corporations, and the ridiculously wealthy.
    Give me a break!

  11. When he says “it’s not about the $” you can bet it was all about the $. Don’t clown me Watt.

  12. lastwordonpft says:

    The same people who get on here and complain about athletes making too much money, are the same people who vote for the politicians who give enormous tax breaks to hugely profitable corporations, and the ridiculously wealthy.
    Give me a break!

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    Spot on comment!

  13. Won’t even come close to earning it. will have to shed talent to pay him that ridiculous amount of money. with a weak supporting cast, he’ll be gameplanned against and won’t put up the stats… but I can see steelers fans blaming the coach, gm, and the other players before admitting he’s overpaid.

  14. I look at all the big time busts over the years. I look at all the first round draft picks who never lived up to it. I see average, or mediocre QB’s making $35 million. Watt should put absolutely zero pressure on himself. If you look at all those highly paid busts, Watt is very underpaid. How’s that for pressure?

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