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Before acquiring Derek Watt, Mike Tomlin and company consulted with T.J. to get his blessing

The Pittsburgh Steelers added a new Watt brother to their ranks in free agency, but they had to get the go-ahead from T.J. before they did.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers added another set of brothers to their roster this offseason when the team decided to add fullback/special teams ace Derek Watt to their lineup. Derek will be joining brother T.J. Watt in Pittsburgh, marking the third time they have played together, high school, college and now professionally.

During an interview with Teresa Varley of, T.J. spoke about how head coach Mike Tomlin called him and asked if it was okay with T.J. for the team to acquire Derek. We all know how that played out.

“I always knew Coach Tomlin and Danny Smith really liked Derek. We played them the last two years, and he said he really likes the way he plays football,” said Watt. “Then Coach Tomlin called me and said we are interested in your brother and I want to make sure before we pursue him you are all right if he is on our team if it’s an option for us. I was like, heck yeah. I would love to have him on our team. He would be a great asset.”

But before fans feel like the coaching staff asks players for their blessing before signing them, it should be noted how T.J. did his share of campaigning for his brother to come to the Steelers in 2020.

“I know one of Derek’s best traits is his availability and being ready when called upon,” said Watt. “I have seen Derek play football my whole life. I grew up playing football with him in the backyard. I played high school football with him and went on to play with him in college and roomed with him for a year. I have been a big fan of his in the league too.

”I would tell the coaches during the season that he is playing well. I would remind them his contract is running out and he is playing better each week, especially special teams wise. He is a very reliable player. He is very versatile, especially on offense. He can catch the ball really well, he can block well, he can cut block. He can get on the edge. You watch on the film and he can do a multitude of things. He can carry the ball if we want. He can do a multitude of things. He has always wanted more opportunities, but he has made the most of the opportunities he has had. He is coming into his own on special teams. He has the tenacity and want to to make plays. He can be a heck of a player for us.”

Many fans felt the signing of a fullback was unnecessary, considering how little the team used Roosevelt Nix when he was in Pittsburgh, but T.J. knows what his brother brings to the team, and it is far more than a fullback.

The story of how T.J. got the call to bring on Derek is also interesting, considering the two were together at the time.

“I was with Derek when Coach first called me,” said Watt. “I told him, I don’t know what that call meant, but it sounds like they are going to pursue you pretty hard in the next day or week. I didn’t know what the timeline was.

”He didn’t want to get too excited during the process. There were a few teams in the mix. I know he liked it in Los Angeles. He also knew we still had a fullback on the team. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. He did say it would be awesome for it to come full circle to play together again.

”I told him to be ready. Sure enough, he got the call a few hours later. More than anything, once the call happened and he hung up the phone and he was going to be a Steeler, we realized it was going to be a once in a lifetime experience for the third time. We played together in high school, college and now.”

With two of the three Watt brothers now in Pittsburgh, many are wondering when the third, J.J. Watt, will be joining them? That might be a bit of a reach, at least at this juncture, but if Watt can stay healthy and make plays, he will be a welcome addition to the Steelers in 2020.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the Steelers prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft, and the 2020 regular season.