PITTSBURGH, PA — The Pittsburgh Steelers could call J.J. Watt. With the news of Cam Heyward likely headed to Injured Reserve and set to miss up to eight weeks with a groin injury that may require surgery, there’s a missing piece to the defense line. A piece a familiar face could fill.
Heyward went down early in the Steelers’ season-opener against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, set to miss half the season, Pittsburgh has a decision to make. Rookie Keeanu Benton is a likely candidate to take over the starting defensive tackle job, with DeMarvin Leal and Isaiahh Loudermilk also being options.
The Steelers’ defensive line is deep, with Armon Watts also being an option to become active on game days with Heyward gone, and Breiden Fehoko on the practice squad and likely to be called up.
But the Steelers could call J.J. Watt.
Watt has joked about coming out of retirement since he made his official announcement. He’s also opened up about regretting not taking the opportunity to play with his brother T.J., who at the time of his last free agency, was signing a massive deal. Watt didn’t want to take away from that when he chose Arizona over Pittsburgh.
Well, T.J. is signed and the Steelers need a defensive tackle. Any other team in the league makes that phone call and there’s a slim chance Watt comes out of retirement. For the Steelers, who are still very much a playoff contender even after a blowout Week 1 loss, it’s a completely different conversation.
Maybe Pittsburgh is content with the pieces they have along the defensive line. Maybe Benton, Leal and Loudermilk are enough for the Steelers to move forward.
But if they’re not, the Steelers could call J.J. Watt.