By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin says he’s optimistic T.J. Watt will get a deal done and he expects the outside linebacker to fully participate in practice this week.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker T.J. Watt Still Not Practicing With Team As Week 1 Approaches
According to our news partner at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Watt’s participation in practice on Monday remained the same as it was during training camp. During training camp, Watt didn’t practice because he was looking to sign a long-term deal. He did individual work on the practice field, but he didn’t practice with the rest of the team.
During his first press conference of the new season on Tuesday, Tomlin was asked several questions about Watt, but Tomlin said he’s not worried.
“I remain optimistic that something will get done from a deal perspective. That aside, I’m expecting him to work tomorrow. I’m proceeding with the assumption that he’s going to work tomorrow,” said Tomlin.
Tomlin says he tends to focus his energy on guys who are working, and during Watt’s time not practicing, he’s been focusing on outside linebackers like Melvin Ingram and Jamir Jones.
Mike Tomlin says he is operating with the assumption that TJ Watt will be a full participant in practice tomorrowREAD MORE: Report: Pittsburgh Steelers LB T.J. Watt Expected To Sign Massive Contract Extension After Final Preseason Game
— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) September 7, 2021
“I’m proceeding with the assumption that he’s working tomorrow and he gets to add his talents to that collection and that development of that collection, and hopefully it culminates in quality play not just this weekend for that group but obviously over the course of the 2021 season,” said Tomlin.
He says he’s also not worried about the lack of contact Watt has had.
“One thing I’m not going to do is assume that he’s regular, you know, or normal. I think guys that are in the position that he’s in are in those positions because of their unique talents and skillset and will, if you will,” Tomlin said. He says he’s optimistic about the process “running its course.”
Watt, who led the league with 15 sacks last season, is entering the final year of his deal. The outside linebacker reportedly wants to be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.MORE NEWS: Steelers Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler: T.J. Watt Not Practicing Because Of Contract
The Steelers open their season Sunday at the Bills.