Feb 10, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  J.J. Watt (left) with his brothers Derek Watt and T.J. Watt (right) appears on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors awards presentation at YouTube Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers’ T.J. Watt named NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year at NFL Honors in Los Angeles on Thursday following a dominating season in which he matched the NFL sack record.

Watt’s 22.5 sacks tied the record set by the New York Giants’ Michael Strahan in 2001.

The opening award of the NFL Honors ceremony was presented by Watt’s brother J.J. Watt of the Arizona Cardinals, who is a three-time defensive player of the year (2012, 2014, 2015).

“My teammates, coaches back home in Pittsburgh, this truly is not possible without you guys,” said T.J. Watt, a first-round pick by the Steelers in 2017 who has 72 career sacks. “There are so many guys that put in so much work that goes unnoticed — and that goes for the guys in the cafeteria to the guys who are taping ankles. This one is for all of you guys.”

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was honored with NFL Moment of the Year for his record-breaking 66-yard field goal at Detroit on Sept. 26 as time expired in a 19-17 victory.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Chase, the No. 5 overall selection in last year’s draft, had 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns for the AFC champions.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons was named unanimous NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 13 sacks and 84 tackles. The No. 12 selection in last year’s draft out of Penn State had three forced fumbles in 16 games.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates a sack in the second quarter against the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ Micah Parsons, Tyron Smith off COVID list

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and left tackle Tyron Smith have been removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of the team’s wild-card game against the visiting San Francisco 49ers.

Both players are expected to resume their starting roles after sitting out the Cowboys’ 51-26 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles last Saturday.

Starting safety Jayron Kearse remains in COVID-19 protocol, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said.

Parsons, 22, recorded 13 sacks since being selected by Dallas with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has started 16 games for the NFC East champion Cowboys and has 84 tackles, 30 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles.

Smith, 31, has started all 11 games in which he has appeared this season and all 144 over his 11-year career with the Cowboys. He is an eight-time Pro Bowl selection.

The Cowboys host the 49ers on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 29, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) blocks New Orleans Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) in the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ Tyron Smith, Anthony Brown test positive for virus

Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith and cornerback Anthony Brown tested positive for COVID-19, coach Mike McCarthy announced Thursday.

The two players join rookie linebacker Micah Parsons in dealing with the virus. Parsons was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday by the Cowboys (11-5), with McCarthy declaring him out for Sunday’s road game against the Eagles (9-7).

McCarthy also said Thursday the team has “a number of guys that are sick” but have not tested positive for COVID-19.

Smith, 31, has started all 11 games in which he has appeared this season and all 144 over his 11-year career with the Cowboys. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection likely will be replaced at left tackle by Terence Steele, who has played in 15 games (12 starts) this season.

Brown, 28, has 71 tackles, three interceptions and one forced fumble in 16 games (all starts) this season. His spot could be manned by Kelvin Joseph, who started recently in place of Jourdan Lewis during the latter’s time on the COVID-19 list.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates a sack in the second quarter against the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys LB Micah Parsons enters COVID protocol

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons entered the COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, jeopardizing his shot at an NFL record this Saturday night.

The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite has 13 sacks heading into the Week 18 finale at Philadelphia, two shy of breaking the rookie record set by the Tennessee Titans’ Jevon Kearse with 14.5 in 1999.

Parsons, 22, was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

He has started all 16 games for the NFC East champion Cowboys (11-5) and has 84 tackles, 30 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles. He is tied with Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt for the NFL lead with 20 tackles for loss.

–Field Level Media

Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) reacts to a defensive play against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

All-American Parsons not returning to Penn State

All-American linebacker Micah Parsons will not be returning to Penn State.

Coach James Franklin confirmed Wednesday that Parsons, who opted out of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic, will remain out.

“That won’t be happening,” Franklin said of a prospective return.

Franklin said on Sept. 19, after the Big Ten announced football would be played this fall after all, that he and Parsons were discussing the situation.

“We’re still having conversations with Micah. He’s been great. I think he’s excited about the opportunity,” Franklin said.

Parsons, projected as a top-10 pick in the 2021 draft, announced on social media on Aug. 6 that he didn’t want to risk contracting the coronavirus and spreading it to his 2-year-old son, Malcolm. That consideration, he said, “far outweighed my urge to play football” this season.

“There’s healthy dialogue going on,” Franklin said earlier this month. “At the end of the day if it’s right for Micah and his family, then we want to show them the path to get it done here at Penn State.”

Parsons signed with an agent and would have had to take steps to have his eligibility restored should he return for his junior season.

In two seasons with the Nittany Lions, he played in 26 games and recorded 192 tackles, including 19 for loss, to go along with 6.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.

Four other potential first-round picks — CB Shaun Wade and OL Wyatt Davis of Ohio State, OL Jalen Mayfield of Michigan and WR Rashod Bateman of Minnesota – opted back in after the Big Ten announcement. Only Bateman is still waiting for an NCAA waiver that will allow him to play, though he has received a waiver to practice.

–Field Level Media

Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) reacts to a defensive play as teammate safety Lamont Wade (38) looks on against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Franklin: LB Parsons could return to Penn State

All-American linebacker Micah Parsons is mulling a return to Penn State after opting out to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

That’s according to Nittany Lions coach James Franklin, who said on Fox Sports’ college football pregame show on Saturday that the door is open.

“We’re still having conversations with Micah. He’s been great. I think he’s excited about the opportunity,” Franklin said.

Parsons, projected as a top-10 pick in the 2021 draft, announced on social media on Aug. 6 that he didn’t want to risk contracting the coronavirus and spreading it to his 2-year-old son, Malcolm. That consideration, he said, “far outweighed my urge to play football this season.”

Parsons signed with an agent and would have to take steps to have his eligibility restored should he return for his junior season.

“There’s healthy dialogue going on,” Franklin said. “At the end of the day if it’s right for Micah and his family, then we want to show them the path to get it done here at Penn State.”

Parsons might have tipped his hand at having second thoughts about opting out. On Thursday, a day after Big Ten leaders voted to reinstate the fall football season, Parsons posted this on Twitter:

“At this age I never seen so many hard decisions I’ve been faced with!,” Parsons said.

From Harrisburg, Pa., Parsons was ranked as the No. 5 player overall in the Class of 2018 by the 247Sports composite.

In two seasons with the Nittany Lions, he played in 26 games and recorded 192 tackles, including 19 for loss, to go along with 6.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.

In 2019, Parsons was a consensus All-American. In the Cotton Bowl last December, in which Penn State beat Memphis 53-39, Parsons had 14 tackles, two sacks, three TFLs and two forced fumbles. That was his eighth game of the season with at least 10 tackles.

Parsons said last month that he had four classes remaining and was on track to graduate in December.

On Friday, Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman, another potential first-round pick, opted back in to the season. Coach P.J. Fleck said he had been cleared to return to practice but that he will still need a separate waiver to play. Bateman also signed with an agent.

–Field Level Media

Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) reacts to a defensive play as teammate safety Lamont Wade (38) looks on against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State LB Parsons opts out of season, will turn pro

Linebacker Micah Parsons, a potential top-10 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, announced Thursday he will not play for Penn State this season and will instead prepare for the next level.

“Honestly, this was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” he told Penn Live.

ESPN’s Todd McShay ranks him as the No. 6 prospect in the nation. He becomes the third potential first-round pick to opt out of the season, joining wide receiver Rashod Bateman of Minnesota and cornerback Caleb Farley of Virginia Tech.

In a video on Instagram announcing his decision, Parsons said that despite the precautions the school instituted to keep players safe, he didn’t want to risk contracting the coronavirus and spreading it to his 2-year-old son, Malcolm. That consideration, he said, “far outweighed my urge to play football this season.”

From Harrisburg, Pa., Parsons was ranked as the No. 5 player overall in the Class of 2018 by the 247Sports composite.

In two seasons with the Nittany Lions, he played in 26 games and recorded 192 tackles, including 19 for loss, to go along with 6.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.

In 2019, Parsons was a consensus All-American. In the Cotton Bowl last December, in which Penn State beat Memphis 53-39, Parsons had 14 tackles, two sacks, three TFLs and two forced fumbles. That was his eighth game of the season with at least 10 tackles.

Parsons said he will take his remaining four classes online and plans to graduate in December.

–Field Level Media