HomeSportsSteelers Legend James Harrison Knew T.J. Watt Would Succeed With One Small Change

Steelers Legend James Harrison Knew T.J. Watt Would Succeed With One Small Change

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, having taken home Defensive Player of the Year honors last season.

Back in 2017, however, Watt was a first-round selection out of Wisconsin looking to make an impact. According to his teammate at the time, Steelers legend James Harrison, he came into the league playing out of position. Harrison, the franchise’s all-time leader with 80.5 sacks, recently joined the “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger ” podcast and talked about the lone season playing alongside Watt.

Harrison revealed that while Watt was showing potential, the Steelers weren’t maximizing his talent.

“Oh, I love T.J. man, I tried to do that, I ain’t going to lie,” Harrison told the former Steelers quarterback. “He was originally on the right and T.J. had a move on his left that I saw in practice, I said ‘yo, why don’t you move T.J. to the left. I’m not saying I need to get in there, but he got a move on his left side he can’t do on his right.’”

Watt finished his rookie campaign with 7.0 sacks, a career-low for him entering 2022. The Steelers eventually moved him to the left side, where he subsequently rattled off four consecutive double-digit sack seasons.

James Harrison Sees ‘No Limit’ on What T.J. Watt Can Accomplish With Steelers

One year removed from a 22.5-sack season, Harrison believes there’s still no limit on what Watt can do.

“I guess they decided after you know the year,” Harrison said. “Move him to the left side and instant double-digit sacks. Like, I got a move on my right I can’t do on my left. If you are going against a better tackle, it speaks a little bit more, but you’re still professional athletes. If he stays healthy man there is no limit, no limit.”

Watt, 28, has played in just five games this season, hampered by a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Week 1 and arthroscopic surgery to clean up his knee. He’s recorded just 1.5 sacks this season with one forced fumble.