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Steelers’ T.J Watt closes out 2023 as NFL’s sack leader

It marked his third season leading the league in sacks.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers star edge rusher T.J. Watt’s 2023 regular season ended prematurely with an MCL sprain, but once again, he managed another record-breaking campaign.

With Week 18 in the books, Watt officially ends the year as the NFL sack leader with 19, becoming the first player in NFL history to lead the league in sacks on three occasions. He led the NFL in sacks with 15 in 2020 and 22.5 in 2021, which tied the previous official sack record set by Michael Strahan in 2001.

NFL sack leaders (2023)

1. T.J Watt (PIT) — 19.0

T-2. Trey Hendrickson (CIN) — 17.5

T-2. Josh Allen (JAX) — 17.5

4. Khalil Mack (LAC) — 17.0

5. Danielle Hunter (MIN) — 16.5

Watt broke the tie for most seasons as the NFL sack leader previously shared with six other players, including Strahan, Reggie White, and his brother J.J. Watt, among others, who have each done it twice in their careers. Watt entered the final weekend in a tie with Cincinnati’s Trey Hendrickson, each having 17, but he picked up two sacks before exiting the game against the Ravens with his knee injury. Watt also had the most quarterback hits on the season with 36.

In his seven-year career, he has 96.5 sacks. Watt has made the Pro Bowl in six of his seven years, only missing it in his rookie season. The Steelers’ all-time sack leader, Watt, already had a first-ballot Hall of Fame career resume before the age of 30 and has many more years ahead of him to add to his stats.

Despite Watt’s accomplishments this season, it’s been Browns DE Myles Garrett and Cowboys EDGE Micah Parsons who have spent the most time leading the league with their odds of winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Though he’s projected to miss time with a knee injury, the Steelers’ season isn’t over yet, having clinched a trip to the Wild Card Round of the 2023 NFL Playoffs with a win over the Ravens and a loss from the Jacksonville Jaguars, which could mean we haven’t seen the last of him yet.