Though it may sound like a perfect Hollywood story, J.J. Watt coming off the couch to replace Cam Heyward and play with younger brother T.J. Watt, J.J. is running out of ways to tell the world he’s not coming back to the NFL, much less suiting up for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Responding to a Friday tweet that said he could be practicing with T.J. in Pittsburgh right now, J.J. responded by tweeting how nice the retired life is.
“But I spent the morning with my wife and 10 mo. old son and am now making the turn after the 9th hole with a Miller Lite in one hand and a hot dog in front of me…
Kinda beats practice.”
Rumors and speculation about Watt’s return crept up after Heyward suffered a serious groin injury that will keep him out until roughly Thanksgiving. Pittsburgh’s defensive line has taken a beating just a week into the year with DL Larry Ogunjobi nagged by an ongoing foot injury while DeMarvin Leal suffered a triceps injury in Week One. Ogunjobi’s status for Monday night against the Cleveland Browns is uncertain, though Leal is expected to play.
Earlier this week, Watt appeared on The Pat McAfee Show, on which he’ll be a regular guest this year, to confirm he loved the retired life. Despite still physically being able to play — he recorded 12.5 sacks last season for the Arizona Cardinals — he decided to hang up his cleats at the end of the 2022 season. He’s focusing on his family while dabbling in media (an analyst on Sunday’s NFL Today) and the other football, becoming part owner of the Burnley F.C. organization.
Time and time again, Watt has said he hasn’t even considered giving football another try. At this point, he hasn’t practiced or done any true football conditioning in months, though he’s kept up with his regular workout routine, including training with T.J. during the offseason. He’s not in a position to get off his couch and suit up for Week Three. And if he was going to make a return to the game, he’d have made that decision by now, giving him time to get acclimated to football’s demands. At this point, he’s made a ton of money, put together a Hall of Fame career, and there’s not much else for him to accomplish. He’s missing a Super Bowl ring but it’s not like the Steelers are the favorites to hoist a Lombardi this year.
Rumors will persist, it’s in their nature, but Watt will be a fan of the Steelers this year. Not a player.