Posted by DavidGreen
Jan 09, 2024


On Saturday, January 6th, 2024 the Pittsburgh Steelers had to come to terms with their defensive MVP candidate, T. J. Watt, most likely suffered a Grade - 3 left MCL sprain during the third quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers huge 17 to 10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Obviously further tests will need to be conducted before their worst nightmare is affirmed according to various sources around the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL.

T. J. Watt’s Recent Injury

Watt suffered the left MCL knee injury not long after he secured his 2nd - sack of the Saturday afternoon NFL game when T. J. landed uncomfortably following Watt jumping and colliding with his Pittsburgh Steelers teammate in Montravius Adams. T. J., who was ruled out for the rest of the game after he went down, wanted to return to game action, but the Pittsburgh Steelers training staff would definitely not allow that to happen.

Watt eventually could be seen laying on his stomach as he pounded his first into the wet, muddy turf in utter frustration following the play while his teammates took a quiet knee around him. After several minutes in the sideline blue medical tent, T. J., who came off the field fortunately under his own power, walked very gingerly back to the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room for further consideration from the team physicians.

"Obviously, man, T. J. is a big part of not just our defense but our team," the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, Elandon Roberts, reveals. "Great leader, great guy, on and off the field. I'm hoping it's not as bad. ... From a standpoint of our team -- not just our defense but our team -- we definitely don't want to see T. J. go down."

Sack King of the NFL

By that point last Saturday afternoon, T. J. Watt recorded 2 - total sacks as well as a tackle for a loss which brings his current season total to an astonishing 19 - sacks this year. Watt not only leads the entire NFL with 19 - sacks, but he's also just the 2nd - player in the history of the league to have multiple seasons of at least 19 - sacks, joining older brother J. J. Watt who was also an unstoppable force rushing off of the defensive edge.

The Pittsburgh Steelers long - time head coach, Mike Tomlin, is currently still holding out hope that Watt's lower - body injury will not be too serious, but early indications are that this is a bad MCL sprain that will most likely take T. J. out for the remainder of the 2023 - 2024 NFL season.

"I'll have more information probably next time we get together," the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin explained. "Obviously disappointed in that, but there are challenges in the game of football, there are challenges in life. So, we'll deal with it, whatever it may be."

Replacing T. J. Watt

With Watt now out for the rest of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to turn to Markus Golden as well as their rookie Nick Herbig to rotate on the opposite side of the D - line from their other superstar pass rusher in Alex Highsmith.

Golden, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers during free agency last offseason, sacked the Baltimore Ravens quarterback, Tyler Huntley, on third down in order to force the Baltimore Ravens to have to settle for just a field goal on their final drive of the game leaving them short on points vs the Pittsburgh Steelers last Saturday afternoon.

"I got a lot of sacks hitting the edge and stuff like that, but I just want to get out there and win the game for my team," the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Markus Golden empathically expressed. "Get out there and compete for T. J. You got to play hard for a guy like him when he goes down, because that's what he does."

If the Pittsburgh Steelers do indeed end up making the 2023 - 2024 NFL playoffs and testing confirms the severe MCL sprain, it is highly unlikely T. J. Watt would be able to play in the 1st - round of this year’s upcoming NFL postseason.

"We better be able to, even though it's a tall ask," the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive captain, Cameron Heyward, stated in regards to the replacement of Watt of their stout defensive unit. "It's not going to be one guy. We're going to have to mix some things up, but as a pass rush crew and as a D - line and an outside linebacker crew, we have to step up.

"It goes to guys like Alex Highsmith who I thought played really well today, Nick Herbig, Markus Golden. These are the guys we relied on for depth all year, and they've done a good job. No one's going to go out there and say, 'Hey, I'm T. J. Watt,' but collectively we got to pick it up."

Watt’s Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards

  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award Winner (2021)
  • 3 - Time First - Team NFL All - Pro Selection (2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Second - Team NFL All - Pro Selection (2019)
  • 6 - Time NFL Pro Bowl Selection (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 2 - Time Deacon Jones Award Winner (2020, 2021)
  • NFL Forced Fumbles Co - Leader (2019)
  • Butkus Award Winner (Professional Level) (2020)
  • PFWA All - Rookie Team Selection (2017)
  • Second - Team All - American Selection (2016)
  • First - Team All - Big Ten Selection (2016)

Watt’s NFL Records

  • Sacks in a Season with 22.5 (tied with Michael Strahan)
  • Seasons Leading League in Sacks with 2 (tied)
  • Consecutive Seasons Leading League in Sacks with 2 (tied with Mark Gastineau & Reggie White)


“Steelers fear Watt suffered left knee MCL sprain against Ravens”, Brooke Pryor, espn.com, January 6, 2024.

“T. J. Watt”, pro-football-reference.com, January 7, 2024.


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