T.J. Watt might not feel as if he is hitting the NFL wall. But earlier this week, he was taking hits of another type. “Man, he's really pounding me on the questions, isn't he?” the Steelers' young linebacker said after a reporter relayed yet another unchecked — and good-natured — assertion by Watt's brother, J.J. For example, the elder Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, insisted during a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters that when the Watt brothers played backyard football growing up in Wisconsin, J.J. won “every one, of course.” “He said he always won?” T.J. said. “I don't know what he's talking about.” Monday in Houston, teams J.J. and T.J. Watt play for will face each other for the first time in a formal setting when J.J.'s Texans play T.J.'s Steelers. The 28-year-old J.J., however, won't play because of a broken leg suffered during Week 5. But while the Watt family will have to wait longer to see the youngest and oldest of their three sons oppose each other, the Christmas game has allowed for a serendipitous opportunity for the clan to gather for a holiday meal. J.J. plans to host an almost-full Watt family Christmas dinner Sunday. The only reason it won't be perfectly attended is middle brother Derek will be busy playing fullback for the Los Angeles Chargers in a game against the New York Jets. “We will be able to watch Derek's game, have a little dinner and really spend time together, which will be awesome,” J.J. said. The best part of having a season-ending injury, J.J. said, is being able to watch his brothers' games. A first-round pick from Wisconsin — where all three Watt boys played — T.J. instantly became a reliable, steady contributor to the Steelers defense. As a 22-year-old, he was taking first-team reps at right outside linebacker from the first training camp practice, and he's played 82.2 percent of the defensive snaps during the 13 games he's played (Watt sat out Sept. 24 at Chicago because of a groin injury).
Steelers rookie LB T.J. Watt carving his own niche in league
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Dec 24