Pittsburgh Steelers Find Replacement Following T.J. Watt’s Injury Update

by Dustin Schutte

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially placed linebacker T.J. Watt on the injured reserve list on Wednesday, meaning he’ll miss at least four weeks of the 2022 NFL season. It also created an open spot on the 53-man roster entering Week 2.

It didn’t take long for the organization to fill that opening. Thursday, Pittsburgh announced it signed linebacker David Anenih to the 53-man roster in Watt’s absence. He was signed away from the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad.

Anenih was not selected in the 2022 NFL Draft but was signed by the Titans as a free agent. He shined during preseason action, recording three sacks, three quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and a pair of passes defended.

Before putting on the Tennessee jersey, Anenih played college football at Houston. He made 29 starts over his career and played in 56 games. The linebacker collected 99 total stops, 32 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks and forced four fumbles.

Watt suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Pittsburgh’s season opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. He could miss up to six weeks with the injury.

Who Steps in for T.J. Watt?

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed David Anenih to the 53-man roster in T.J. Watt’s absence, but who will take over on the field for the reigning Defensive Player of the Year?

Malik Reed, a four-year NFL veteran in his first season with the Steelers, is expected to step up. The 26-year-old linebacker will have some large shoes to fill on the field, but Reed says he’s ready for the challenge.

“It’s always tough,” Reed said, per SI.com. “You never want to see a guy, especially of his caliber, who’s been a Defensive Player of the Year, a great player year in and year out, go down that way.

“I’ve had a lot of snaps in the league, and I think God has ordered those steps in that way to be prepared for a moment like this, so when a guy does go down, you’re prepared to go in and keep it rolling.”

Reed, who spent his first three NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos, has played in 46 career games and made 34 starts. He’s totaled 124 tackles, 15 for loss, three forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries.

Pittsburgh plays the New England Patriots in Week 2.