T.J. Watt further etched his name in Steelers lore during Pittsburgh’s Monday night matchup against the Browns. The 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year broke James Harrison’s franchise career sack record when he took down Deshaun Watson with just over a minute left in the first half.
Watt now has 81.5 career sacks, surpassing Harrison’s tally of 80.5 sacks during his decorated 14-year career with the Steelers. Ironically, Harrison set the previous franchise mark against the Browns in Week 11 of the 2016 season.
Watt now finds himself atop the following list of the Steelers’ all-time career sack leaders.
Steelers all-time career sack leaders
T.J. Watt (2017-present)
James Harrison (2002, 2004-12, 2014-17)
Cam Heyward (2011-present)
L.C. Greenwood (1969-81)
Joe Greene (1969-81)
Jason Gildon (1994-03)
Watt (’21) and Harrison (2008) are flanked by Joe Greene (1972 and ’74), Mel Blount (1975), Jack Lambert (1976), Rod Woodson (1993) and Troy Polamalu (2010) as Steelers players who have won Defensive Player of the Year honors. Watt took home the honor after tying Michael Strahan’s NFL single season record of 22.5 sacks.
Watt’s brother, JJ, an analyst for the NFL Today on CBS offered his opinion of how talented his brother is after the record-breaking sack:
The 2017 first-round pick is off to a stellar start this season. In Week 1, Watt tallied three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while being one of the lone bright spots in the Steelers’ 30-7 loss to the 49ers. Watt tied Harrison’s record with his third sack of 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, prompting Harrison to congratulate his former teammate via social media.
While he is the new Steelers official sack king, Watt’s primary goal in the NFL is to do something his former teammate did twice during his career: hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. But before he can do that, Watt wants to help the Steelers snap their seven-year drought without a playoff win.
“I’ve played in three playoff games and haven’t won a single one, so that’s a big issue,” Watt told CBS Sports during the offseason. “That’s probably goal No. 1 is just to get into the playoffs and win a playoff game and just go from there.
“I’m not about the individual goals anymore. I’ve set myself up nice where I’ve been having a good career but it doesn’t matter if you’re not winning games when they matter most. I think that’s objective No. 1, for sure.”