On Sunday afternoon, all three Watt brothers played in their first NFL game together. T.J. and Derek took the field with the Pittsburgh Steelers in their matchup against the Houston Texans, the team that their brother J.J. plays for.
Growing up Playing Football
The Watt brothers found their love for sports playing outside of their house in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
“We would connect the three back yards with neighbors on each side of us and we’d play football,” T.J. said. “We’d play baseball in the backyard. Whatever we were doing, we were trying to get as many people, as many kids in the community to come over to our house and play as many sports as we possibly could.”
J.J., Derek and T.J. all attribute part of their success to growing up together and challenging each other on the football field.
“For me it was super important in my development to play with J.J. and Derek and to get beat up on a lot when I was younger,” T.J. Watt said. “But (it taught me to) just kind of be resilient and continue to grow and learn from my experiences playing up with those guys.”
Started in the backyard… pic.twitter.com/PsjsdC7XbP
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) September 27, 2020
The Watt brothers all attended the University of Wisconsin to play college football. J.J. walked-on after transferring from Central Michigan, where he played tight end.
Fortunately for Derek and T.J., the two were able to play together at every level of football, including college. J.J., who is nearly four years older than Derek, was always too far ahead of them.
Derek Joins T.J.’s Team
Derek, 27, was originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
There, the fullback recorded 19 rush attempts for 49 yards and one touchdown. He also totaled 10 receptions for 152 receiving yards.
When Derek hit free agency earlier this year, the Steelers picked him up. He signed a three-year contract worth $9.75 million in March.
When it came time for Derek to begin practicing with the team, his brother T.J. was there to help him adjust.
“It’s a very surreal experience to be out on the practice field and be able to look over and see the Watt (name) on the back of the jersey of someone other than myself,” T.J. said in an August interview with the media.
A September Steelers vs. Texans Matchup
As the anticipated matchup got closer, the Watt brothers grew more and more excited.
During a Steelers pre-game press conference, Derek and T.J. were interrupted by a call from J.J. The Texans’ defensive end asked some questions and joked around with his brothers.
“There was a lot of buildup that went into this week,” T.J. said. “So much media. Being miked up for the first time, I think you’ll find out I’m a very boring person to listen to on the field. I don’t talk much. I just tried to soak it up as much as possible.”
While each of them has played against the other brothers during their time in the NFL, all three of them have never been on the same field at the same time.
Just before the game started, T.J. and J.J. met at midfield for the coin toss. Both are captains for their teams.
Despite trying to focus on the game at hand, the Watt’s were also trying to support each other.
“When J.J. and Derek were out there early, I tried to sneak a peak, and definitely at the end because it’s truly a once in a lifetime experience,” T.J. told NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala in a post-game interview. “I’m so fortunate to be able to share a field with my brothers.”
Featured Image Courtesy of The Houston Chronicle
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