Oct 30, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) runs off the field at half-time against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers’ T.J. Watt activated; Minkah Fitzpatrick (appendicitis) out Sunday

The Pittsburgh Steelers activated linebacker T.J. Watt, who missed seven games with a pectoral injury, off injured reserve on Saturday.

The defense, however, will be without fellow All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. The safety is out with appendicitis.

In addition, the team placed cornerback William Jackson III (back) on injured reserve and elevated safety Elijah Riley to the active list for the game.

Watt sustained his injury in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and returned to practice on Oct. 26. He also underwent minor knee surgery while he was sidelined.

“It’s huge to finally have a helmet back on and be out there on the field, Watt told reporters Friday. “Just to feel the emotions and feel alive again in the stadium.”

Watt had a sack and interception before leaving the game in Week 1. Last season, the three-time All-Pro tied Michael Strahan (2001) for the most sacks (22.5) in a season since the stat became official in 1982.

The Steelers (2-6) can use the help on defense, especially with Fitzpatrick ruled out.

In seven games this season, Fitzpatrick has three interceptions — one returned for a touchdown — and six passes defensed along with 45 tackles.

The Steelers acquired Jackson in a trade with the Washington Commanders on Nov. 1. He has yet to play for Pittsburgh because of the back injury.

In 75 career games (64 starts) with the Cincinnati Bengals and Commanders, Jackson has 205 career tackles with five interceptions, 51 passes defensed and one sack. He returned one interception for a score.

Riley was promoted from the practice squad in Week 6 and played 13 percent of defensive snaps.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) runs off the field at half-time against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers’ T.J. Watt to play Sunday against Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro pass rusher T.J. Watt said he will play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints after missing seven games with a torn pectoral muscle.

The team opened the 21-day practice window on Watt on Oct. 26, designating him for return from injured reserve. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Watt told reporters he didn’t expect to be on a snap count for the Steelers (2-6).

Watt, 28, initially was expected to miss six weeks with the pectoral injury he suffered in the season opener, but he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month, delaying his return.

He opted to rehab the pec injury rather than have a surgical procedure that carried a recovery time of around 10-12 weeks.

Watt had a sack and interception in the season-opening win but did not finish the game. Last season, the three-time All-Pro tied Michael Strahan (2001) for the most sacks (22.5) in a season since the stat became official in 1982.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) looks on from the field prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers designate T.J. Watt (pec) for return off IR

Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro pass rusher T.J. Watt returned to practice Wednesday after missing the past six games with a torn pectoral muscle.

The team opened the 21-day practice window on Watt, designating him for return from injured reserve. He’s not expected to play this week against Philadelphia but can be added to the active roster at any time.

The Steelers (2-5) have a bye in Week 9 before playing New Orleans in Week 10.

Watt initially was expected to miss six weeks with the pectoral injury he suffered in the season opener, but he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month, delaying his return.

Watt opted to rehab the pec injury, which occurred in the Week 1 win at Cincinnati, rather than have a surgical procedure that carried a recovery time of around 10-12 weeks.

Watt had a sack and interception in the season-opening win but did not finish the game. Last season, the three-time All-Pro tied Michael Strahan (2001) for the most sacks (22.5) in a season since the stat became official in 1982.

The 21-day window closed on Steelers rookie receiver Calvin Austin III on Wednesday, meaning he will remain on IR for the rest of the season.

–Field Level Media

Aug 20, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) looks on before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers park T.J. Watt on IR, sign LB off Titans’ practice squad

T.J. Watt is out at least four games after being placed on injured reserve by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Watt plans to rehab a torn pectoral muscle, an injury incurred in the Week 1 win at Cincinnati, rather than having a surgical procedure that carries a recovery time of around 10-12 weeks.

To take Watt’s vacant spot on the 53-man roster, the Steelers signed linebacker David Anenih off the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad.

Watt had a sack and interception in the season-opening win but did not finish the game. Last season, the All-Pro tied Michael Strahan (2001) for the most sacks (22.5) in a season since the stat became official in 1982.

Anenih reported to the Steelers on Thursday in time for practice and should be available for Sunday’s visit from the New England Patriots.

“It’s a really good environment, Mike Tomlin is a great coach,” Anenih said. “We didn’t talk much Xs and Os. They just said I was coming up here.

“I’m going to be in here all day today, I’ll be in here until late tonight to learn about special teams, learn the defense — and get ready for Sunday.”

Anenih had 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and two pass deflections in the preseason with the Titans.

Field Level Media scored Anenih as a draftable prospect coming out of the University of Houston based on his production — 20.5 career sacks — and 6-foot-11 wingspan.

–Field Level Media

Aug 28, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers RB Najee Harris (foot) says he’s playing Sunday

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris said a foot injury he sustained in Sunday’s season-opening victory isn’t serious and he intends to play in Week 2 against the New England Patriots.

Speaking with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio, Harris said the injury is “nothing too crazy.”

“I’ll be back at practice this week. And then I will be playing this weekend,” Harris said.

Harris limped off the field late in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ 23-20 overtime win in Cincinnati.

Harris had 23 rushing yards on 10 carries but also caught two passes, including a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

The 24-year-old Harris was a Pro Bowl selection in 2021 after the Steelers selected him in the first round of the draft from Alabama. He played in all 17 games and ran for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught 74 passes for 467 yards and three scores.

In other injury news, the Steelers worked out linebacker Ryan Anderson on Tuesday with star T.J. Watt likely headed for injured reserve, NFL Network reported.

Anderson, 28, was a second-round pick out of Alabama in 2017 and played four seasons with Washington (2017-20).

He signed with the New York Giants in March 2021 but was released after being suspended six games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Anderson registered 86 tackles, 15 quarterback hits, six sacks and five forced fumbles in 52 games (four starts) with Washington.

Watt, the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is out indefinitely after tearing a pectoral muscle during Sunday’s season-opening win against the Cincinnati Bengals.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) during the third quarter of a Week 1 NFL football game at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cara Owsley-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers LB T.J. Watt (pec) might put off surgery; RB could also miss time

Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro linebacker T.J. Watt is contemplating non-surgical rehab for a torn pectoral muscle suffered in Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Watt, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, had an interception and a sack before leaving the eventual Steelers’ win.

NFL Network reported Watt has discussed the injury with his older brother, J.J. Watt of the Arizona Cardinals, who had surgery for a similar injury in his 10th NFL season but returned sooner than expected. J.J. Watt said he felt great eight weeks post-surgery.

The normal recovery time from the surgical corrective operation is three months, a projection that would imply T.J. Watt wouldn’t return until December.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin plans to update Watt’s status later this week. The Steelers are also uncertain whether running back Najee Harris (foot) can play this week.

A timetable for his return from an injury that could be connected to a Lisfranc sprain during training camp won’t be established until further testing is completed, per multiple reports. The initial report from the team on Sunday was Harris left with an ankle injury.

Harris had 23 rushing yards on 10 carries but also caught two passes, including a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Wide receiver Chase Claypool finished the game as Pittsburgh’s leading rusher with 36 yards on six carries.

Undrafted rookie backup running back Jaylen Warren gained seven yards on three carries.

–Field Level Media

Aug 28, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) reacts after making a tackle in the backfield for a loss against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers stars T.J. Watt, Diontae Johnson injured in preseason finale

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt and wide receiver Diontae Johnson left the team’s preseason finale Sunday afternoon with injuries, although neither injury is expected to be serious.

Watt sustained a knee injury and Johnson hurt his shoulder. Both were ruled out for the rest of the game, but they returned from the locker room to stand on the sideline for the second half.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told the CBS broadcast that there was “no long-term concern at the moment” for either player. If it was a regular-season game, Tomlin suggested said players might have been able to return to the field.

Watt tied the NFL record with 22.5 sacks last season on his way to winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He signed a four-year contract extension worth more than $112 million before the start of the 2021 campaign.

Johnson led Pittsburgh in all major receiving categories last year collecting 107 receptions for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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

Jan 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) and outside linebacker Alex Highsmith (56) sack sBaltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley (2) during the second  quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers’ T.J. Watt ties NFL season sack record

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt matched the NFL’s official single-season sack record of 22.5 by corralling Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley in the final minute of the first half of Sunday’s game.

The sack allowed Watt to tie Michael Strahan, who set the record in 2001 for the New York Giants.

The Ravens had first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 3-yard line when Huntley dropped back to pass and Watt recorded the big sack with 23 seconds left in the half.

The score was knotted at 3 at halftime.

Watt had 3.5 sacks against Baltimore in this season’s first meeting, won 20-19 by the Steelers on Dec. 5.

Sacks didn’t become an official stat until 1982. Al “Bubba” Baker of the Detroit Lions registered 23 in 1978, an unofficial record.

–Field Level Media

Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) looks on before the game gainst the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Watt, Cooper Kupp chasing hallowed NFL records

One of the most compelling storylines entering the final week of the regular season is whether Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt will set a new single-season NFL sack record.

Watt brought himself within one of Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5 set in 2001 with a career-high four sacks of Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield on Monday night. Pittsburgh closes the season at Baltimore, with both teams still mathematically in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the AFC, although they both need a win and significant help.

Watt leads the NFL with 21.5 sacks this season, followed by Chicago’s Robert Quinn (18.0), Cleveland’s Myles Garrett (15.0), San Francisco’s Nick Bosa (15.0) and Cincinnati’s Trey Hendrickson (14.0).

BetMGM is offering +180 odds that the sack record will be broken in Week 18, compared to -225 odds that the outright record will either be tied or not reached. The season-long struggles of Baltimore’s offensive line had contributed to 98 percent of the bets and 99 percent of the money backing the record to be broken shortly after the sportsbook posted the prop bet.

By contrast, DraftKings is offering -130 odds that Watt will record at least 1.5 sacks on Sunday.

Watt cleared COVID-19 protocols in time to record 3.5 of his 21.5 sacks this season in a 20-19 Steelers win at home against the Ravens last month.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson has missed the past three games with an ankle injury and didn’t practice Wednesday. If he can’t play Sunday, Tyler Huntley will get the start.

There has been some debate as to whether an asterisk should be associated with single-season records that are set with the NFL moving to a 17-game schedule. However, Watt will be listed as the officially record holder by the NFL if he breaks Strahan’s mark.

Watt did miss two games earlier this season and has already joined Reggie White as the only players in NFL history to record at least 21 sacks in 14 games or less. Watt and White are also the only players in league history with at least 13 sacks in four consecutive seasons since the NFL officially began tracking sacks in 1982.

Just before this season, Watt inked a four-year, $112 million contract extension that made him the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. He was the runner-up for NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and is averaging 0.93 sacks per game since entering the league in 2017 – the most in league history.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp will also be chasing two of the league’s most hallowed records on Sunday.

He currently leads the NFL in catches (138), receptions (1,829) and touchdowns (15). Kupp has a chance to break Calvin Johnson’s record of 1,964 receiving yards set with Detroit in 2012.

The Lions’ quarterback that season? That would be current Rams signal-caller Matthew Stafford.

Kupp has recorded at least 136 receiving yards in three different games this season. He had 11 catches for 122 yards in the first meeting against San Francisco this season.

He also needs 11 receptions to tie Michael Thomas’ record for catches in a single season.

DraftKings is offering +160 odds that Kupp will record over 135.5 receiving yards and +380 odds that he will have more than 11.5 receptions.

However, Kupp said Monday that breaking the record “wouldn’t hold the same weight” by accomplishing the feat in a 17-game season.

“In all honesty, in my opinion, we’re in a very unique season,” he said. “We’re the longest football season ever played.

“What the guys did that set those records – Mike Thomas, Randy Moss for the touchdowns, what Calvin Johnson did with the yards. What those guys did in 16 games, it wouldn’t seem right to, I don’t know, for those to be broken in 17 games.

“Those are incredible things, incredible accomplishments. You kind of have to separate the two. I have just an incredible respect for what those guys were able to do, what they were able to accomplish and what they were able to produce for their teams in those 16 games.”

–Field Level Media