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JJ Watt jokes about replacing his brother T.J. Watt for Steelers’ playoff game vs. Bills

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T.J. Watt has been ruled out for the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ upcoming playoff game against the Buffalo Bills with a knee injury. And while he was surely joking, Watt’s big brother JJ Watt alluded to the notion of replacing his younger brother for Sunday’s game. 

The elder Watt posted the following message and photo on social media shortly after Steelers coach Mike Tomlin ruled his star pass rusher out for Sunday’s game.  

“Think they’d notice?” JJ Watt wrote, wearing a Steelers uniform.

Many Steelers fans had hoped that JJ Watt would have had a stint with the black and gold before retiring last year. After all, two of the three Watt brothers were teammates in Pittsburgh after former NFL fullback Derek Watt signed with the Steelers in 2020. 

JJ Watt, who in turn has showered the Steelers and the team’s fanbase with praise, never did play for the team his younger brothers played for. Watt retired after the 2022 season and has since settled into his new role as a CBS Sports NFL analyst. Watt and his wife also became minority investors with the Burnley F.C. soccer club in May of 2023. 

Retirement has allowed JJ to pay closer attention to T.J.’s career. Now 29, the youngest Watt brother is in the running to win his second Defensive Player of the Year award after recording a league-high 19 sacks during the regular season. Watt will miss Sunday’s game, however, after suffering a knee injury during Pittsburgh’s Week 18 win over Baltimore. 

“I think he’s the best defensive player in the game,” JJ recently said of T.J. during an interview with CBS Sports, “and I think that’s what he’s going to go out and show again this year as he’s done multiple times before. He’s been training extremely hard. He’s extremely disciplined; same as he always has been. He’s in great shape and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch all of his games this year.

“He’s the best defensive player in the world, and I’m looking forward for the rest of the world to see it again.”

While they won’t have JJ, the Steelers do have capable players who will help fill T.J.’s void in Buffalo. Among those players are rookie Nick Herbig and veteran Markus Golden. Herbig had a big strip-sack that led to points during Pittsburgh’s Week 17 win in Seattle. Golden picked up his fourth sack of the season during last Sunday’s victory in Baltimore. 

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