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Steelers 2021 Training Camp Recap, Day 12: The reason for T.J. Watt’s absence is finally known

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back at Training Camp, and it is time to check out what went down during the latest practice!

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame Game-Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It isn’t Saint Vincent College, but it hasn’t been Latrobe, PA since 2019. The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking in their 2021 Training Camp between Heinz Field and their UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the Southside of Pittsburgh.

What went down during the latest training camp practice? That is where this article comes in. Check out all that was said, as well as photos and videos from the day’s workouts.

Here we go...

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been at training camp for weeks now, and they haven’t had any players holding out for any reason. If they are under contract, they are there at camp, whether it is at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex or Heinz Field. However, there is one player who has been in attendance, but hasn’t been a full participant.

By now, you should know I’m referring to T.J. Watt.

Watt showed up to camp on time, and has been at every single practice, but has not participated in any hitting/team drills. He has been working hard, but no one knew why he wasn’t a full participant in all facets of camp.

When defensive coordinator Keith Butler spoke with media after practice Saturday, he admitted the reason why Watt hasn’t been fully participating is due to his contract. In his 5th year option, the mega deal for Watt seems like a foregone conclusion, but Watt isn’t going to be participating fully until that deal gets done.

Butler, as a former NFL player, understands the contract aspect of the game, and just hopes the deal gets done sooner, rather than later.

The Steelers now prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night in Week 1 of the NFL Preseason, and the clock is now officially ticking on a contract between the Steelers and Watt.

Now for the other news from camp practice Saturday...

7 Shots

For the daily update on the ‘7 Shots’ drill, the offense came out of the gate extremely hot. Chase Claypool showing he is only going to get better, and that’s scary for defenses.

1-on-1 TE vs. LB

The Steelers then went into a 1-on-1 drill which put a tight end vs. a linebacker in coverage/space. For Devin Bush, his athleticism showed. For Melvin Ingram, not so much.

OLine starting to take shape

While Watt remained out, the Steelers’ offensive line started to come together. For the first time in training camp, the projected book end tackles returned to the lineup. Chuks Okorafor at left tackle and Zach Banner at right tackle. In just one week, the offensive line has the look of what fans expected heading into 2021. The lone player who remains out is Kevin Dotson at left guard.

2 min Drill

The Steelers ran the two-minute drill during Saturday’s non-padded practice, and the first team offense’s drill was very short. However, the second string picked up the slack.


The Steelers continued with the competitive drills, this time with 7-on-7. There were some big plays to take place during this session.

3rd Downs

During the Steelers Hall of Fame game, the team struggled on third downs. Mike Tomlin was asked about those issues after practice Saturday, and his response was all about situational football and preparedness.

BTSC Training Camp Recap Podcast