Since his arrival at training camp, Pittsburgh Steelers star outside linebacker TJ Watt has only participated in individual workouts and has skipped out on team drills as the two sides continue discussions on a contract extension.
However, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is “optimistic” that a deal will be reached and Watt will be on the field for the team’s Week 1 showdown against the Buffalo Bills, according to ESPN.
“I’m expecting him to work tomorrow. I’m proceeding with the assumption he’s going to work tomorrow,” Tomlin said via ESPN.com.
Watt, who is headed into the final year of his rookie deal, will make just over $10 million in base salary, which currently ranks 10th among players at his position, according to Spotrac.
Since being selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Watt has been one of the premier edge rushers in the league. Last season, he led the NFL with 15 sacks and 41 quarterback hits.
Watt has 49.5 sacks, 17 forced fumbles, and four interceptions over his career.
The Steelers usually require players to practice in order to play, so it will be interesting to see how things fare if the two sides don’t come to an agreement before their first game on Sunday.
“I’ve been optimistic about this process (running) its course,” Tomlin said. “And so, because of that optimism, I’m anticipating quality play for him this weekend and beyond.”